The following is a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Baton Rouge - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that recently tested samples submitted by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals contain a new strain of norovirus.
The CDC reports the new strain, like other norovirus strains, is transmitted person to person, and has been confirmed nationwide for about 50 percent of the recent norovirus outbreaks. In Louisiana, the strain has sickened dozens and forced the closure of some oyster harvest areas. Because the strain is new, few people are immune to it causing more outbreaks.
Norovirus outbreaks are common, and generally those infected recover within one to two days. Much like influenza, norovirus mutates easily, and new strains such as this are common. The CDC name for the new strain, GII.4 New Orleans, includes "New Orleans" in the name because the first confirmed samples came from the Crescent City.
Norovirus symptoms usually begin to show 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Sometimes people have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness.
Noroviruses are found in the stool and vomit of infected people. People can become infected with the virus in several ways:
"People should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet, before consuming food, and before preparing food," said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, State Health Officer. "If everybody did this, we could prevent a majority of the illness caused by these viruses."
You can decrease your chance of coming in contact with noroviruses by following these preventive steps:
Persons who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for at least two to three days after they recover from their illness. Food that may have been contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of properly. Persons working in day-care centers or nursing homes should pay special attention to children or residents who have norovirus symptoms. This virus is very contagious and can spread rapidly throughout such environments.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.