New strain of norovirus hits US hard

The CDC recently announced that norovirus is the leading cause of “winter vomiting disease”

Topics: Flu, winter flu, norovirus, illness, sickness, ,

New strain of norovirus hits US hard (Credit: Shutterstock)

A new strain of the norovirus stomach bug that has been sweeping through Japan, Australia and Western Europe is hitting the United States, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So you aren’t imagining it. Everyone you know really is sick this winter.

Norovirus, once called the Norwalk virus, is easily transmittable and causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. The bug is often spread in enclosed places like schools, offices, subways and nursing homes.

“The new strain spread rapidly across the United States from September to December 2012,” Dr. Aron Hall an epidemiologist at the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases, said in a statement. “The proportion of reported outbreaks caused by this strain increased dramatically from 19 percent in September to 58 percent in December.”

You Might Also Like

Though the worst part of the infection is usually short lived, young children and the elderly are most at risk of serious complications due to dehydration and fluid loss. Each year, noroviruses cause an estimated 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths, the CDC says.

“Right now, it’s too soon to tell whether the new strain of norovirus will lead to more outbreaks than in previous years. However, CDC continues to work with state partners to watch this closely and see if the strain is associated with more severe illness,” said Dr. Hall.

There is no treatment for norovirus. Doctors can only recommend riding out the worst of the symptoms and being vigilant about fluid intake to avoid dehydration.

And as for prevention? Frequent hand washing remains your best bet, experts say.

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>