Genesee County is warning people to stay vigilant against Norovirus, which is easily transmitted through food, by person-to-person contact, or by contaminated surfaces.

The county has experienced a significant gastroenteritis outbreak recently, health officials said. It spreads easily through places like schools, hospitals, nursing homes and shopping centers.

The Genesee County Health Department is encouraging everyone to stay healthy by staying vigilant against the ailment:

•Norovirus causes a self-limited moderate illness which typically includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Symptoms may also include low-grade fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

•Symptoms may begin as early as 12 hours following exposure or as late as 48 hours after exposure, and typically last 24 to 60 hours. In most cases ill persons recover without medical attention.

•Norovirus infection occasionally results in hospitalization due mainly to dehydration, with the very young and elderly at greater risk. Those with severe diarrhea should drink lots of liquids.

•Frequent hand washing using soap and warm running water for a minimum of 20 seconds and preventing contamination of food, drinks, water, and ice are critical to prevent the spread of Norovirus.

•Anyone with gastrointestinal symptoms must not prepare or serve food for others for 48 to 72 hours after symptoms have ceased. The virus may continue to be shed for up to 14 days after


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