ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- The CDC in Atlanta is alerting the public to a new strain of the norovirus in an outbreak which has affected at least 140 people nationwide.
That number may seem low, but health officials expect to see many more cases. Unlike the flu, which is an upper respiratory virus, the norovirus is an intestinal assault. It causes severe problems including stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
There is no treatment for norovirus, so doctors recommend lots of bed rest and fluids. Noroviruis can cause dehydration, and extreme dehydration can lead to death.
With the flu still prevalent, contracting the norovirus at the same time can lead to major complications. The elderly, young children, and those with deficient or compromised immune systems are most at risk. It is most commonly contracted by touching infected surfaces.
Dr. Mark Flodin of South Tampa Immediate Care tells 10 News, "The best defense is keeping your hands clean. Lots of hand washing. If you touch many common surfaces throughout the day, like keyboards, handrails, and counters, wash your hands thoroughly and try and keep your hands away from your face and mouth since this is the most likely way of getting sick."
Follow 10 News Reporter Charles Billi on twitter @Charles Billi