According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of the highly contagious norovirus, commonly referred to as the stomach bug, are on the rise across the Northeastern United States.

What is Norovirus?

The CDC states that,

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus. Norovirus is sometimes called the “stomach flu” or “stomach bug”. However, norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is caused by influenza virus. Discover norovirus symptoms, how the virus spreads, and how to prevent norovirus. 

I had never heard of this virus up until recently, and found out that each year, the norovirus causes between 19 to 21 million instances of vomiting and diarrhea in the U.S., as reported by the CDC.

There was an outbreak at the Irving School in New Jersey, and classes got canceled because of it.

Is norovirus coming to Maine?

Well, it's already been around here for a bit, though we're not having an official outbreak yet.

WMTW mentioned the cases, but they're calling it an "uptick" for now. I haven't come across the precise number of cases just yet.

As the report states, viruses like this one spread more in the winter because people spend more time indoors. Even a small number of outbreaks in New England can cause a big increase in cases.

In the Northeast, about 13% of tests for norovirus are coming back positive, which is higher than before, according to WMTW.

The Chief Health Improvement Officer for MaineHealth is Dr. Mills, and she advises washing hands frequently around someone with the virus, avoiding sharing utensils or glasses, and staying hydrated if infected.

If you have a weak immune system or a chronic illness and think you're infected, contact your doctor!

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