New Norovirus Strain Reaches Columbus


UPDATED: Wednesday February 6, 2013 8:26 PM

The winter stomach bug is making hundreds in central Ohio sick.

A new strain of the norovirus, called the Sydney strain because it first was identified in Australia, swept through Europe and Japan before arriving in Ohio.

The Columbus Public Health Department reported that labs have confirmed around 100 cases in the city since November.
 
Assistant Health Commissioner, Dr. Mysheika Williams Roberts, said most people who get sick don't get tested, and many others never see a doctor for the ailment.
 
She said that the new strain differs from older versions.
 
"It's stronger. It's easier to pass from one person to another," said Williams Roberts. "And it's a hardier virus that can last for a longer period of time, not only once you get sick, but also on the surfaces, so it can spread easily that way. "
 
She said that vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and a low-grade  fever will last three to four days, though the first 24 hours are the worst.  There is no treatment.
 
"The most important thing you can do to avoid being a victim is to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly," she said.
 
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Tips From The Columbus Public Health Department

Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
Take care in the kitchen
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
Do not prepare food while infected
People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.
Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label. If no such cleaning product is available, you can use a solution made with 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully—without agitating them—to avoid spreading virus. If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. The items should be washed with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried.

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