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Health and Medicine


Norovirus hits Ohio hard
The stomach bug can be prevented by good hygiene, but health officials say outbreaks could continue through February
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT BILL COHEN


Reporter
Bill Cohen
 
Health experts advise people who get the intestinal flu to keep washing their hands because even 3 days after their symptoms go away, the germs can still be spread.
Courtesy of CDC
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In The Region:

Influenza isn’t the only flu virus that’s hitting Ohio hard this winter. There’s also an intestinal flu bug called the noro-virus. Ohio health officials measure seriousness of the problem by counting the outbreaks --- an outbreak is defined as two or more people who probably caught the virus from the same source.

Tess Pollock of the Ohio Department of Health says – so far, the norovirus in Ohio seems to be just a little worse this winter, compared to last.

Bill Cohen talks to ODH's Tess Pollock

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“From October through January of last season, there were 24 outbreaks throughout the state. This season, we’ve seen 31 outbreaks throughout the state. What’s going to be really telling is the next month," Pollack says. "Last year, there were 24 outbreaks in February alone, so whether or not that will hold true again this year, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

She says the severity of the virus varies, though most people don't end up in the hospital."For most people, ... it’s a shorter bug. It’s often called the stomach bug, which kind of makes you ill for about 24 hours, maybe up to three days.”

As with other viruses, this one hits the young, old and frail harder. And the symptoms are not pleasant.

"It’s often referred to as the stomach bug, so that can include diarrhea, it can include vomiting, it can include fever and chills as well. So it’s very important that you’re washing your hands if you are ill.
"Even after you (are) feeling better, continue to practice good hygiene. Most often this virus can be spread up to three days after your symptoms subside. So it’s important that if you’re preparing food for your family or for other people – especially in a restaurant setting – that you not touch food if you have been ill or stay home.”

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