NoroVirus 2023

NoroVirus 2023: What You Need to Know About the Stomach Bug

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Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu or bug is a highly contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.

It can also cause fever, headache, and body aches.

Norovirus is not related to the influenza virus which causes respiratory symptoms.

Norovirus is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness in the United States. It can spread through direct contact with an infected person, contaminated food or water, or touching surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus.

Norovirus can survive on surfaces for days and is resistant to alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Norovirus Outbreaks in 2023

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus outbreaks have been on the rise in 2023, especially in the winter months.

Between August 1, 2022, and January 8, 2023, there were 225 norovirus outbreaks reported to the CDC, compared to 172 outbreaks during the same period in the previous season.

The rate of norovirus tests coming back positive averaged over three weeks was around 17% as of the end of last week. That’s the highest it has been at any time in the last year.

The CDC tracks norovirus outbreaks through a network of 14 state health departments. The Midwest and South regions had the highest average test positivity rates for norovirus, both approaching 18%.

Some of the outbreaks have been linked to raw oysters from Texas, which were contaminated with norovirus.

The CDC says that the number of norovirus outbreaks and cases remains within the expected range for this time of year, based on the average from 2012 to 2020.

However, it is possible that many cases are underreported because not everyone seeks medical attention or testing for norovirus.

How to Prevent and Treat Norovirus

There is no specific treatment or vaccine for norovirus.

The best way to prevent it is to practice good hygiene and avoid contact with sick people.

Here are some tips to prevent and treat norovirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating or preparing food, after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with norovirus using bleach or other products that kill norovirus.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them. Cook shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
  • Do not share food, drinks, utensils, or personal items with others.
  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid contact with others until you are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can worsen dehydration.
  • If you have severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, high fever, or signs of dehydration (such as dry mouth, dizziness, or decreased urination), seek medical attention.

Norovirus can be a serious illness, especially for young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

By following these tips, you can protect yourself and others from this unpleasant stomach bug.

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