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Norovirus outbreak in the Southwest

Posted on December 6, 2016 by Maple Creek

Megan Roth
Twitter: @MeganMCNews

Winter weather is upon us, and with the cold temperature comes outbreaks of certain illnesses, like the Norovirus.

The Cypress Health Region has released an advisory claiming cases of the Norovirus have been found in the Southwest.

Norovirus is very different from the flu, according to Dr. David Torr, the medical health officer for the Cypress Health Region.

The flu is a respiratory system infection, and Norovirus specifically targets the gastrointestinal system.

“People always say they have the stomach flu, but that isn’t accurate. There is no such thing as the stomach flu,” Dr. Torr explained.

Norovirus has common symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Fever, headache and body aches may also occur with the Norovirus. Often the symptoms come on suddenly, and will last between 24 and 72 hours.

“Norovirus spreads very quickly so it is very important to wash your hands frequently.”

Norovirus can be transmitted through an infected person – up to 48 hours after their symptoms dissipate. The illness can also be transmitted through contaminated food and water or by touching any contaminated surface.

Using hand sanitizers instead of washing your hands will not stop the transition of this virus, according to Dr. Torr.

“I know there are people who specifically use sanitizers. Unfortunately, with this virus, it is resistant to hand sanitizers.”

Because the Norovirus causes, what can be, quite severe diarrhea and vomiting, Dr. Torr said it is very important to keep hydrated while sick.

For reasons Dr. Torr can only speculate on, instances of people coming down with the enteric disease greatly increases during the winter months.

It is often seen in school-aged children.

“We want people to have a happy holiday season and it won’t be if they spend it next to the toilet.”

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