Incredibly Contagious Stomach Bug Spreading in Northeast

A surge of norovirus cases in the Northeast has led to school closures and a wave of violent stomach illnesses, according to recent reports. The hypercontagious stomach bug has been particularly prevalent in states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, where the positivity rate for the hypervirulent strain is at its highest.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that in the Northeast region, 14% of swab tests have come back positive for norovirus. Nationwide, the positivity rate stands at 12%, marking a 3% increase from the previous month.

Norovirus is known to be the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States, with an estimated 19-21 million cases annually. The virus tends to peak in February and March, as close indoor proximity and contaminated food, liquids, surfaces, and person-to-person contact facilitate its spread.

Symptoms of norovirus can range from violent diarrhea to stomach pain and vomiting, often leading to dehydration. The virus is highly contagious, with even a few particles capable of making someone sick. Children are especially susceptible to spreading the illness, which has resulted in several school closures in the affected regions.

To help mitigate the spread of norovirus, health officials recommend frequent handwashing, rinsing fruits and vegetables, and cooking shellfish thoroughly. It is important to note that norovirus is resistant to hand sanitizer, making soap and water the most effective means of prevention.

Individuals who are infected with norovirus are advised to stay home, avoid preparing food for others, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. By taking these precautions, the public can help stem the tide of this highly contagious and debilitating illness.

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