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St. Luke’s warns increase in Norovirus outbreaks in N.C.

Published 5:02pm Thursday, February 14, 2013

North Carolina usually sees an increase in norovirus cases between October and March, but health officials said they’ve seen a noticeable upswing in the past month.

“It is more common in the winter, because it’s a fairly hardy virus, so it will live on environmental surfaces for days to weeks,” Rothell said. “And of course, we are indoors more and outside less, so it does tend to occur more in the winter.”

The best prevention is frequent hand washing, she said, adding that alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not work against the virus.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. They usually last one or two days, but people are contagious for at least three days after they recover.

Norovirus is easily spread by touching a contaminated surface or by eating food prepared by someone who’s sick. Rothell advised it’s best for people who feel ill to stay home to avoid spreading the illness, and she said, people should use bleach-based cleaners to wipe down desks, counters and other hard surfaces.

Keeping our community informed is just one way St. Luke’s Hospital provides exceptional care, close to home.

 

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