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Norovirus also spreading across country

February 7, 2013 7:06:01 AM PST
We've heard a lot about the flu outbreak across the country, but there's something else that's making the rounds right now, making people sick. It's the Norovirus.

"Just couldn't stop throwing up to the stomach pain, said Everage Lyons, a patient.

Everage Lyons says she's been miserable.

Her doctors say Norovirus may to blame; a stomach bug that causes a long list of unpleasant symptoms.

"Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps," said Dr. Barry Rosenthal, Chairman of Department of Emergency Medicine at Winthrop University Hospital.

Dr. Barry Rosenthal is Director of the Winthrop Hospital emergency room on Long Island. He says Norovirus is adding to the current flu confusion.

"We have three viruses going on right now. There's the influenza virus, there is a virus that causes the common cold which is rhinovirus, and then there's Norovirus," Dr. Rosenthal said.

But most people call everything the flu

"The influenza virus does not typically cause gastrointestinal symptoms. If one has nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling feverish, chances are they do not have influenza," Dr. Rosenthal said.

But you may have Norovirus. It's known as the cruise ship virus, where outbreaks often occur.

It spreads, when people consume contaminated food or water, have contact with infected people, or touch contaminated objects.

Now there is a new strain of Norovirus.

It began in Sydney, Australia and spread worldwide with six confirmed cases in New York.

But Norovirus is hard to track. Most doctors don't test for it and unless your symptoms are really bad, and most people don't even go to the doctor

The state health department says so far this season, there has been no overall increase in Norovirus outbreaks, but individual cases are not routinely counted.

It's not clear if symptoms of the new strain will be more severe. The CDC says it will continue to monitor it.

We all use the alcohol hand sanitizer, but studies show it does not work against Norovirus.

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