Winter vomiting disease or norovirus is on the rise in the United States.
A significant uptick has been observed in vomiting disease or norovirus cases across United States, according to health authorities.
Numerous outbreaks have infected hundreds of people particularly in California and Minnesota, while a new strain of virus has been detected in one of the Minnesota outbreaks as well.
According to the California Deparrtment of Public Health (CDPH), norovirus cases have escalated in California this year. A total of 32 confirmed outbreaks were reported in 2015 so far.
Norovirus is a highly infectious disease which can easily spread from one person to another. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and illness and it can be very dangerous for children and older adults. The virus can spread quickly in closed and crowded environments such as hospitals, daycare centers, schools and restaurants.
“One of the most important things you can do to avoid norovirus and other illnesses this holiday season is to wash your hands frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds,” said Dr Karen Smith, director of CDPH. “This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing diapers and before preparing or eating food. Hand sanitizers are not effective against norovirus.”
Norovirus is one of the most common viruses in the United States. Every year, 20 million people are diagnosed with norovirus while approximately 570 to 800 deaths annually are caused by the virus.
Symptoms of norovirus begin 12 to 48 hours after the exposure and last one to three days and people can become infected in many ways such as having direct contact with an infected person, eating food and drinking liquids contaminated with the virus or touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching their mouth.
To prevent the spread of norovirus, it is necessary to wash hands alongside fruits and vegetables before eating. Keep your food preparation equipment and place clean. Do not share utensils with someone having norovirus and people who are suffering from disease should not work while they are sick.
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You can learn more about norovirus infection prevention here.