Norovirus Spreads Throughout the Country – Here’s What Medical Experts Advise

Norovirus Spreads Throughout the Country – Here’s What Medical Experts Advise

The extremely contagious norovirus, sometimes also referred to as the stomach flu, is spreading throughout Massachusetts as well as the rest of the country.

Norovirus is not linked to the influenza virus, despite its common namesake. Typical gastrointestinal effects include nausea, diarrhea vomiting, and stomach ache. A bit of a fever as well as body pains are also possible.

According to CDC data, the cases have been reaching high numbers in the United States this season.

This week, leading Boston medical professionals spoke with NBC10 Boston about how you may protect yourself, how COVID-19-related changes in behavior have disrupted normal viral cycles, and the growing public interest in infectious diseases.

As it turns out, it is quite uncommon for people to be hospitalized with norovirus and Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes said he has not heard of any such occurrences at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he works.

Earlier this week, Kuritzkes wrote in an email that “The norovirus cases are another example of seeing re-emergence of some common infections as we continue to emerge from our COVID shells. There were periodic and localized outbreaks of norovirus all the time before COVID, so not surprising that we are seeing them again.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were frequently occurring local outbreaks of norovirus, so it isn’t too surprising that we’re now experiencing them once more.

According to Dr. Shira Doron, infectious diseases recur after some time like the pandemic, infection levels were rather low because of social isolation and other restrictions.

“In many cases, the curves are returning to shapes and sizes from before the pandemic, sometimes early, but not necessarily worse. Headlines tend to overstate the situation,” Doron stated.

Dr. Benjamin Linas, along with Dr. Doron, noted that because of increased public awareness of health issues, the virus might be receiving more attention than before the pandemic, which is a good sign there is more health awareness.

Linas mentioned that “I think it’s also interesting that the public has become more gripped by infectious disease epidemiology. We see surges and waning of URI and GI viruses all the time, but none other than the ID people truly cared or noticed before.”

Local experts advise maintaining good personal hygiene and routine hand washing as the best means of defense.

Linas said that “I think it’s always wise to just be aware and use basic hygiene, but I don’t think that the rise in noro cases implies something like the ‘next pandemic’ or even a larger problem.”

Additionally, Kuritzkes stresses the importance of food handlers calling in sick to work if they need to.

Kuritzkes mentioned that “People who are sick should not make food for their households, although strict isolation as for COVID is not necessary as long as good hygiene is practiced,” Kuritzkes said.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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