4 norovirus outbreaks reported in Shelby Co. this year - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

4 norovirus outbreaks reported in Shelby Co. this year

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The Shelby County Health Department has identified 4 Norovirus outbreaks in the county so far this year. The Shelby County Health Department has identified 4 Norovirus outbreaks in the county so far this year.
Helen Morrow with the health department says a big problem with Norovirus is people becoming dehydrated. Helen Morrow with the health department says a big problem with Norovirus is people becoming dehydrated.
Travel agent Jan Ogelsby has seen the virus in action while on vacation. Travel agent Jan Ogelsby has seen the virus in action while on vacation.
SHELBY COUNTY, TN -

(WMC-TV) – ‘Tis the season for severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

We're not talking flu, we're talking Norovirus.

The Shelby County Health Department has identified 4 Norovirus outbreaks in the county so far this year.

"Well this is the season that we commonly see outbreaks of Norovirus," stated Helen Morrow with the Shelby County Health Department.  "The problem we run into are people that may become dehydrated and there are some deaths associated with it every year usually the very young and the very old."

They aren't saying where the outbreaks occurred.  The extremely contagious virus typically plagues senior living facilities, hospitals and schools.  It's normally associated with the illness that spreads on cruise ships. 

Jan Ogelsby, Travel agent with Gulliver's Travel, has seen it in action.

"It's a bad way to get when you're on a vacation," said Ogelsby.  "I was on a cruise two years ago to South America and I had a group and over 800 people on our cruise ship got the Norovirus."

Norovirus can live for weeks on hard surfaces, even upholstered surfaces.  Most sanitizers can't kill it.  It's more contagious than the flu, and there's no vaccine.

"There is no antibiotic or viral agent that we can give to make it go away. It's a symptomatic treatment.  Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands," said Morrow.

Symptoms of Norovirus last about 2 days but health officials say you're contagious at least 3 days after you recover. 

The common and very contagious gastrointestinal virus is transmitted by touching a contaminated surface or by eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated.

The Shelby County Health Department is urging people to take the proper precautions to avoid getting or spreading the virus:

* Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially after toilet visits and before eating, preparing or serving food or drink.

* Hand sanitizers are not as effective against norovirus.

* Clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated with vomit or diarrhea immediately using a bleach-based household cleaner, or dilute household bleach 1:10 in water (must be mixed fresh daily; never use undiluted bleach)

* Stay home when sick.

* Do not prepare food for other people when sick and for at least three days afterward.

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