U.P. Norovirus Concern

From the Marquette County Health Department:

‘Tis the Season! You probably know someone who has recently had the “stomach flu”, or perhaps you have.

Norovirus infections and other viral forms of vomiting and diarrhea tend to occur more often during the winter months and can begin to be a problem around the Holiday Season.

Many times commonly referred to as the “Stomach Flu” or the “24 Hour Flu” these gastrointestinal viruses are in no way associated with influenza. Although not a respiratory illness such as influenza and the common cold, Noro-like viruses are transmitted person-to-person in much the same way.

Though many who experience the vomiting and diarrhea associated with these illnesses assume they are experiencing food poisoning, Noro-like viruses do not require tainted food to be transmitted through the community. These viruses can be transmitted, similar to influenza and the common cold, through surface contact with door knobs, handrails, tabletops, fixtures, a handshake, and also ready-to-eat foods that have been handled with bare hands.

As with other viruses, frequent hand washing is one of the primary preventive measures. Other preventive measures include staying home and avoiding social events until symptoms have subsided for at least 24 hours, preferably longer. Studies show that Noro-like viruses can be transmitted person-to-person as much as 2-weeks beyond the resolution of symptoms. Prevention also includes sanitizing surfaces with a chlorine solution. Chlorine remains the most effective in neutralizing these viruses.

Keep your friends and family happy and healthy this Holiday Season. Take steps to stop the spread of viruses.