Branson Officials Taking Steps to Fight Off Virus

February 17, 2004 - Posted at 7:30 a.m. CDT

BRANSON, MO - Health officials in Branson want to ward off an illness that has hit the cruise ship industry in recent years.

The target is norovirus, which is actually a family of highly contagious viruses that can cause nasuea and vomiting.  People contract the virus from contaminated foods and surfaces or direct contact with someone already infected.

Norovirus is blamed for intestinal illnesses that sometimes afflict passengers on cruise ships.  Branson had an outbreak in late 2002, eventually traced to three tours from the U.S. and Canada.

The Branson Health Department is offering a seminar today for business owners on how to limit the spread of the disease.  More intensive sessions will follow.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)