Douglas County Health Department sees uptick in Norovirus cases

(Douglas County, NE) -- The Douglas County Health Department says they've seen a recent increase in norovirus cases.

DCHD says Nebraska and Douglas County are seeing an increase in norovirus outbreaks this spring. The Health Department is urging people to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick from the illness. DCHD says they have investigated five outbreaks of norovirus, which they say is often wrongly referred to as “the stomach flu,” at long term care facilities and daycare operations. The county has seen 82 cases of norovirus so far this year compared to 45 last year at this time.

“While norovirus is rarely fatal, it can be extremely hard on the very young and the elderly,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Dehydration is one of the big concerns.”

The health department says symptoms of norovirus include violent vomiting and diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain, often with a rapid onset. Body aches may accompany the disease which usually appears 12 to 36 hours after exposure to the virus. DCHD says the best ways to prevent yourself from getting norovirus are to carefully wash your hands with soap and water – especially before handling food and after changing diapers or using the restroom.

The health department also recommends taking these precautions as well:

  • Avoid preparing food for others when you are sick
  • Wash laundry thoroughly, especially if it may be contaminated with vomit or feces
  • Surfaces can be contaminated and may need to be sanitized to avoid spreading norovirus
    • Bleach-based disinfectants are recommended for clean-up
  • Stay home for two days after the symptoms appear.

People generally recover from norovirus in two or three days, but anyone who has experienced norovirus knows it is something to be avoided.

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