Highly contagious 'Norovirus' on the rise

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 7:55pm

Most are familiar with the stomach flu or food poisoning, but a new virus with similar symptoms is making its rounds around East Texas. This new bug is the Norovirus.

The Norovirus is a high contagious virus that causes the stomach or intestines to get inflamed. KETK spoke with George Roberts, the CEO of Net Health, who said, "This Norovirus is a different virus that infects your gastro-intestinal system". The illness is highly contagious. Roberts said, "The Norovirus in large congregate settings can certainly spread very, very quickly. So when we see that pop up, we in public health take very quick steps to try and control it".

The symptoms for the Norovirus are brutal. This includes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Unfortunately, there is no immediate cure for these symptoms, and it can last up to 3 days. This virus can also occur at any time throughout the year. Each year it causes more than 20 million illnesses, and contributes to 800 deaths.

There are some preventative measures you can take. Roberts recommends, "Number one, try to stay healthy. Number two, if you're aware that someone else is sick, stay away from them and don't shake hands. Also, wash your hands frequently".  

Schools are likely to see an outbreak, although no official reports have yet been made. We spoke with Cindy Francher, the District Coordinator for Health Services at Tyler ISD, who said, they're not seeing any recent significant changes in school attendance. However Francher does recommend,  "Any time a child has a temperature or fever of 100 or greater, we really prefer that they stay home".

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