Norovirus outbreak continues in Illinois

February 27, 2013 11:32:07 AM PST
That stomach bug that's been sweeping the national hasn't run its course- quite yet. Illinois health officials say Norovirus strikes the most between November and April.

One in every 15 Americans is infected with norovirus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting. The stomach bug is highly contagious.

The best way to avoid becoming ill is to wash your hands, according to Illinois Department nof Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "Viruses can contaminate surfaces and objects touched by someone who is ill. If your hand then comes in contact with your mouth, chances are you will end up becoming ill."

Norovirus spreads quickly in crowded places, and symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping. Other, less common symptoms are low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue.

Most people get better with a couple of days, but norovirus can be serious in young children, the elderly and people with other health conditions. More than 70,000 people are hospitalized and 800 deaths are reported each year in the U.S. from norovirus.

Tips for avoiding norovirus (from
Frequently wash your hands, especially after toileting and before eating or preparing food.
Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately using a bleach-based cleaner. Or use one part bleach to nine parts water (1:10 dilution).
Increase the frequency of cleaning high touch surfaces such as door knobs.
Do not work as a food handler while you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting.