Posts tagged "Norovirus"

New Strain of Norovirus – the Winter Vomiting Bug – On the Rise

Although the flu is on everyone’s minds this season, the winter vomiting bug, or the norovirus, is also making its rounds. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the norovirus causes about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year, mostly in young children and the elderly. Some of the virus’ common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. The CDC points out that the norovirus is often referred to as the stomach flu, but it is unrelated to influenza. “The norovirus, which many people call the stomach flu, is widespread this year,” said Katinka Podmaniczky, assistant director of communications for the Boston Public Health Commission. “We encourage everyone to take simple precautions to protect themselves and others, like washing hands frequently and staying home if you feel sick.” In Boston, right now about 2.5 percent of all emergency room visits are related to accute gastrointenstinal problems, which may or may not be caused by a norovirus, according to a Health Commission report. This time last year, that number was just over 3 percent. The commission did not have data for the total number of people reporting GI issues outside the ER. This year’s strainWhat’s different this year is the norovirus is mostly a new strain, GII.4 Sydney. It was first detected last year in Australia, then the U.K. and sickened over a million people. It has now reached the United States and this new strain appears to be taking over. Of norovirus cases reported from September to December, 54 percent have been identified as GII.4 Sydney, according to recently released data. The first norovirus outbreak was reported in Ohio in 1968. Today, approximately 21 million illnesses are attributable to norovirus in the U.S. each year, reports the CDC.  Of those, approximately 25 percent can be attributed to foodborne transmissions. The norovirus can also spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships. Avoiding the NorovirusThis hardy virus is extremely contagious. The BBC reports that norovirus is one of the few infections you can catch from a toilet seat. The virus can survive temperatures as high as 140°F, which makes eating raw fish, such as oysters, particularly dangerous. Noroviruses can live in vomit or stool even before a person experiences symptoms, and up to two weeks after symptoms disappear.  People are most contagious when they experience symptoms and during the first three days after recovery, reports the CDC.   While the noroviruse is on the rise, seasonal influenza—in particular, influenza A—remains the largest health problem in Boston this season, with more than 1,220 cases reported since Oct. 1, according to the Health Commission’s latest […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 15, 2012 at 3:22 am

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , ,

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