Rhinovirus Outbreak at Montrose Veterans' Home

An outbreak of Rhinovirus at the New York State Veterans' Home in Montrose, New York has killed four people and sickened dozens others.The New York State Department of Health reports that the outbreak began on August 2. According to DOH, there have been 58 cases, including 4 deaths, at the 221 bed Westchester County veterans' home.

Human Rhinoviruses (HRVs) are viral pathogens that infect the respiratory tract and cause cold-like symptoms. In elderly individuals and those with weakened immune systems, however, rhinoviruses can lead to serious health problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

There is no vaccine or antiviral cure for rhinovirus infection which is highly contagious. Infection control, especially at group home facilities, requires prevention and control measures such as staff and resident education, illness reporting, good hygiene and environmental housekeeping.

According to WABC, infectious diseases experts have questioned whether the Montrose facility had adequate infection prevention and control practices. "It does, on the face of it, seem like an unusual number of cases and deaths," Denis Nash, Ph.D., of the CUNY School of Public Health told WABC. "If so many are affected by the same infectious disease, it does point to infection control issues. And that's something the state will want to be looking at right away."

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