Vomiting Virus Sweeps The U.S. with New Strain Along with Flu Outbreak
The recent vomiting outbreak has swept across the U.S. in the past few month and is being blamed on a new strain of norovirus, a virus known to cause vomiting and diarrhea in winter months.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 53 percent of norovirus outbreaks last fall were caused by the new strain. The outbreak caused by the new strain, which has been dubbed GII.4 Sydney, increased from 19 percent to 58 percent between September and December last year.
The norovirus is very common in winter months and normally peaks in January. New strains of the virus are said to appear every two to three years.
Dr. Jan Vinjé, the CDC’s surveillance system for norovirus, said that new norovirus strains often lead to more outbreaks.
The norovirus is very contagious and there have been many cases of outbreaks at school. Nearly 21 million people are estimated to fall victim to the virus. Young children and seniors are particularly at higher risk of suffering from dehydration due to the diarrhea and severe vomiting triggered by the bug.
Good hygiene is recommended to prevent the spread of the virus.
The news of the new norovirus strain comes as the U.S. suffers from a massive flu outbreak this winter as well.
This year has proved to be one of the worst flu seasons in a decade. Over 47 states have reported flu outbreaks. Dozens of people have died from the devastating influenza.
The city of Boston declared a public health emergency as 18 people are reported to have died in Massachusetts alone.
Flu shot shortages were reported last week as people rush to protect themselves in light of the influenza outbreak.