Norovirus cases on the rise in Lewis & Clark County

Posted at 5:19 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 10:49:14-05

With the upcoming holidays, and travel associated with them, Lewis and Clark Public Health are asking people to help prevent the spread of illnesses.

“We have seen an increase in cases of reported norovirus,” said Laurel Riek, Environmental Health Specialist. “Since the end of October there have been six confirmed cases. But what that means is that there are an awful lot of cases not confirmed because it’s not reported to us unless they go to a doctor.”

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.

The disease is sometimes called the stomach flu, but the virus is different from influenza.

Riek says washing your hands and avoiding touching your face are good ways to limit your exposure to either virus.

The disease can lead to dehydration in severe cases, especially in the young and old.

It takes only a few virus particles to make someone sick and people should stay home if they are sick to avoid spreading the disease.

“In those instances where we have children in daycare, it just kind of flies right through there. So we want people to keep their children at home when they’re sick and for two days after their symptoms resolve,” said Riek. “The same is true for food handlers because it’s very easily based through food.”