New Norovirus 30 Jan 13

A new strain of an intestinal bug is going around making Minnesotans sick.

Health officials say norovirus is unpleasant and it can be very difficult to get rid of because its germs are not easily washed away.

Doctors say norovirus is the most common cause of intestinal illness. It causes diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and sometimes fever. It peaks in winter and every few years, we get a new strain to which we are not immune.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the new strain, called the Sydney strain, is now here in Minnesota.

Kirk Smith, supervisor of the Food Borne Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health, said billions of viral particles can be released when someone has norovirus. Some become airborne and it takes very few to make someone else sick.

Officials say first and foremost, wash hands frequently, after using the restroom, before eating or before preparing food.

Norovirus is often transmitted via food prepared by someone who hasn’t washed their hands properly.

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