Health Department investigating intestinal illness

Eric Sucar

FREEHOLD — Due to an increase in recent reports of gastrointestinal illnesses, the Monmouth County Health Department encourages adults and children to stay home if ill and to be diligent about hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.

In recent days, Monmouth County has seen an increase in cases of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses. The symptoms include abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting lasting 24 to 48 hours.

Those with symptoms should stay home for 24 hours after symptoms have stopped to avoid spreading the virus to others. People involved in a food-handling occupation should stay home 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

“The best way to protect yourself from GI illness is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness,” said Monmouth County Public Health Coordinator Christopher Merkel in a press release.

“Contrary to popular opinion, hand sanitizers are not effective in protecting you from this type of illness. Soap and water [are] the best and most effective way to reduce the likelihood you will get a GI illness,” he said.

Efforts are being made to identify the specific illness through laboratory testing.