Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Health Department Shares Advice to Reduce Potential Spread of Communicable Diseases

With the increased numbers of visitors to the Indianapolis area in the midst of cold and influenza season, the Marion County Public Health Department has reached out to local hotels and food service handlers, providing information on practical tips to lessen the risk for the spread of communicable diseases.

Viral gastrointestinal illnesses (GI), identified by vomiting, nausea and diarrhea are highly infectious and common during this time of year. These illnesses can travel quickly in all types of settings including hotels and food service establishments. Hotels will be receiving information during the next several days. Food service establishments routinely learn safety prevention tips from the health department's Consumer and Food Safety inspectors.

"Frequent hand washing by guests and staff is the key to controlling the spread of communicable diseases. And we would share this same message with all those participating in events during the next 10 days," said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director, Marion County Public Health Department.

Consistent and thorough sanitizing of common surfaces is another critical strategy to preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Complete clean-up of any blood or body fluids is also critical.

"We also want to ensure that only healthy workers are on the job. Ill employees working with food or around large groups of people could easily create an increased risk for a communicable disease outbreak," said Dr. Caine.

The same advice holds true for the general public.

"If you are sick, or if a member of your family is sick, we ask that you stay away from large groups of people. We want you to stay home from work and keep your children home from school to assist in reducing the opportunity for a communicable disease outbreak to occur," said Dr. Caine.

Anyone with questions can contact the Marion County Public Health Department at (317) 221 2117.

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