Norovirus outbreaks on the rise in Austin area

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The number of norovirus cases in Austin and Travis County is significantly greater in 2014 than in the past several years, according to officials.

There have been 12 reported outbreaks of norovirus, widely known as the “cruise ship virus,” where over half of the residents have been ill and required long-term care, according to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department.

Norovirus infections are common in the Austin area during the winter months. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Some people may experience chills, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. An infected person may go from feeling well to very sick in a few hours. In most cases, the illness lasts about one or two days.

The virus is spread by direct contact with a sick person or by eating food or drinking water beverages that are contaminated. People with the virus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least three days after they recover. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often.

For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website.

 

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