Local Health Departments Warn About Norovirus

KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) - Two local health departments are warning people that "it’s the norovirus time of year."

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the Putnam County Health Department say that late fall and winter bring about a nasty stomach bug known formally as the norovirus.

Symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. These symptoms may be accompanied by fevers, headaches, and body aches.

Dr. Michael Brumage, executive director and health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, says “Norovirus is highly contagious and can quickly spread.  Most people recover from the illness in one to three days. The elderly, very young children, and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk for hospitalization.”

Norovirus is highly contagious, and it can spread quickly. Individuals can get norovirus from contaminated food or water, an infected person, or by touching contaminated surfaces. 

KCHD and PCHD recommend the following things to protect yourself:

  • Carefully washing hands with soap and water, especially before eating and preparing or handling food.
  • Always wash hands well after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces, using a chlorine bleach solution or approved disinfectant.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should not be used as a substitute for hand washing with soap and water to prevent norovirus infection.

No specific treatment exists for norovirus-induced gastroenteritis. 

KCHD and PCHD recommend you stay home until the symptoms resolve and avoid dehydration by replacing fluids and electrolytes lost from vomiting and diarrhea.

If symptoms worsen or persist, consult a healthcare provider.

In some cases, it is possible to continue spreading the virus for up to two weeks after the symptoms stop.

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