ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – Several outbreaks of Norovirus have recently been reported to the health department in Washtenaw County. As a result, public health officials are reminding the community of symptoms associated with the gastrointestinal illness and how stop it from spreading.

Noroviruses are highly contagious viruses that cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Some people also experience headache, low-grade fever, and body aches. Symptoms usually last for 24 to 48 hours.

Dr. Matthew Sims, director of Infectious Disease Research at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, said the virus is nothing to be alarmed about unless you become dehydrated — adding that the Norovirus is actually pretty common at this time of year.

“It probably has to do with people being indoors and contact more than because of the weather. It tends to spread by contact and contamination of food,” said Sims.

Norovirus is transmitted by eating contaminated food (food that was prepared or handled by another ill person), by touching surfaces or objects (such as doorknobs, faucets, handles, etc.) contaminated with Norovirus and then touching the mouth, and by having direct contact with a person who is infected and showing symptoms.

Sims said people who contract Norovirus should avoid preparing food for others until at least three days after they’re recovered.

To prevent the spread of Norovirus:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Stay home if you are ill
  • Disinfect with a bleach-based cleaning solution
  • Do not prepare food for others if you are ill

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