DPH: Norovirus Infections Spreading Widely Across North Carolina

State public health officials have issued advice on steps everyone can take to avoid a common and unpleasant gastrointestinal illness known as norovirus The Division of Public Health (DPH) says norovirus infections have been reported by several local health departments across North Carolina.

“The most important message we have right now is that people who are ill with vomiting or diarrhea should not work, go to school or attend daycare while they are having symptoms,” said State Epidemiologist Megan Davies, MD. “Everyone needs to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. This is the most effective way to protect yourself and others against norovirus since hand sanitizers alone are not as effective against this hardy virus.”

People with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least three days after they recover. Dr. Davies says some people may be contagious for an even longer period. Dehydration can occur rapidly and may require medical treatment or hospitalization.

Noroviruses are easily transmitted by touching a contaminated surface as well as by direct contact or by eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminated with the virus, according to a news release issued by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Noroviruses are notoriously difficult to kill with normal cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Some people may have fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness.

For more information on norovirus and precautions to minimize its spread, go to http://www.ncpublichealth.com/.


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