Winter vomiting is common in California these days, and now, the state Department of Public Health has announced that it has noticed a dramatic increase in norovirus cases, known as stomach flu or winter vomiting disease, in the state.
The increase in norovirus cases is surprising, said Dr. Karen Smith, the director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Public Health Officer. The department has already reported about 32 norovirus outbreaks in the western US state since October 2015. The new figure of outbreaks far exceeded the outbreaks in 2014.
Dr. Smith said the only way to avoid norovirus this holiday season is to stay careful. State residents have to make sure that they are washing their hands with soap and running water for at least 30 seconds, the CDPH director added. He further said, “This is especially important after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. Hand sanitizers are not effective against norovirus”.
Health experts say Norovirus is an infectious virus which may cause gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. In the US, the virus is found responsible for about 20 million illnesses every year. It also kills approximately 500 to 800 individuals each other.
CDPH say individuals suffering from the norovirus are very contagious and may spread the disease. Direct contact with infected person, eating contaminated food, norovirus-contaminated liquids are some of the ways that can spread the disease, as per the department.