A new strain of norovirus is causing intestinal illness outbreaks across the country, the CDC confirmed Friday, (Jan. 25).
The new strain, called “GII.4 Sydney,” was first detected in Australia in March 2012 and has since caused outbreaks in several countries. In the United States alone, more than 140 outbreaks have been caused by that particular strain since September 2012.
Just last week, tests confirmed that more than 300 students at Hellstern Elementary in Springdale from a norovirus. No word on if it was this particular strand of the virus. So many students were absent that the school closed on Jan. 18.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus, the CDC states on their website.
It is spread from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed, leading to stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea, according to the CDC.
The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness, the CDC said.
Norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus, the CDC website states.