Home » today » Health » “Norovirus Outbreak Sweeps Across Northeast, Causing Schools to Close and Alarming Symptoms”

“Norovirus Outbreak Sweeps Across Northeast, Causing Schools to Close and Alarming Symptoms”

Norovirus Outbreak Sweeps Across Northeast, Causing Schools to Close and Alarming Symptoms

It’s a noro-easter.

A hypercontagious stomach bug — a norovirus — is sweeping across the Northeast, causing schools to shutter and citizens to suffer from violent diarrhea and other alarming symptoms. Recent data from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention shows that the Northeast — particularly Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York — has the highest positivity rate for the hypervirulent strain. A staggering 14% of swab tests in the region came back positive for the gastrointestinal ailment at the beginning of February.

The norovirus is also on the rise nationwide, with 12% of tests returning positive, marking a 3% increase from November. Unfortunately, the stomach bug — of which there are multiple varieties — is reportedly the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis — or gastrointestinal issues — in the US, resulting in 19 to 21 million cases every year, according to the CDC.

Cases generally spike around February and March when people are most likely to be holed up indoors and, therefore, are in close proximity to one another. Sufferers commonly contract the virus by ingesting contaminated foods and liquids, touching tainted surfaces, and interacting with people infected with the virus. According to the CDC, people who get it from other people generally do so by caring for them, sharing food or eating utensils with them, or eating food handled by them.

Once infected, the patient can experience a host of alarming symptoms ranging from violent diarrhea to stomach pain and vomiting, which can cause significant fluid loss and eventual dehydration. These complications begin within 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can persist for three days. A norovirus is particularly insidious because of how easily it spreads from person to person. It only takes a few particles to make someone sick while the infectees often remain contagious for weeks after their symptoms improve.

Children are especially likely to facilitate the spread of the contagion, which has ravaged several schools and day-care centers in the Northeast. Earlier this month, Irving Primary School in Middlesex County, NJ, shuttered due to an outbreak of the stomach bug. It has since reopened after undergoing a deep cleaning.

Fortunately, people can mitigate the spread of the norovirus by rinsing fruits and vegetables and thoroughly cooking shellfish and, of course, washing one’s hands, per the CDC. Unfortunately, unlike the coronavirus and some other bugs, the norovirus has a resistance to hand sanitizer. “Purel and the alcohol-based stuff doesn’t get through the envelope of the virus, and it’s still contagious on your hands,” declared Dr. Alfred Sacchetti from Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, NJ. “Soap and water is the only thing that’ll really protect you from this.”

Meanwhile, those infected with the virus are advised to stay home and avoid preparing food for others while sick and for two days afterward. They should also drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from vomiting and diarrhea. That will help stave dehydration — the ailment’s most potentially serious symptom.

As the norovirus continues to sweep across the Northeast, it is crucial for individuals to take necessary precautions to prevent its spread. By practicing good hygiene and following the guidelines provided by health experts, we can minimize the impact of this hypercontagious stomach bug. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay informed.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.