Named after Norwalk, Ohio, where a significant outbreak occurred in 1968, at least 2,500 reported Norovirus outbreaks are reported yearly. According to the CDC, Norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting and other uncomfortable gastrointestinal issues, from inflammation of the stomach and intestines among people of all ages in the United States. However, as the cases are on the rise presently, this is not a new virus, nor is it to be considered a pandemic. With various reports spreading rapidly throughout the media, it is vital to understand how common this virus has been for years.
Although Norovirus has been known to severely impact children under 5 years of age and adults 65 and older with hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and even death, this virus is prevalent. Sometimes called the stomach flu, or stomach bug, Norovirus is not related to the flu caused by influenza. Stomach discomfort and symptoms associated with stomach flu are often misinterpreted as “Influenza.” Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat and lungs, part of the respiratory system. According to the CDC, Norovirus is highly contagious, and an infected person can transmit the virus for days after feeling better. Along with gastrointestinal symptoms, mild fever and aches are often accompanied by these discomforts of the virus. They note that Norovirus is also the leading cause of foodborne illness.
If this sounds familiar, you’ve had the Norovirus in the past and possibly several times. Cases are more predominant between November and April and are expected to remain within the expected range for this time of year. We are hearing much information about the Norovirus, but no panic is necessary. Unlike Covid-19, it is a stomach issue that makes a person sick, at times sick to the point of requiring a medical visit, but is not the latest pandemic and should not be considered as such. Prevention measures implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic were likely effective in preventing Norovirus outbreaks; this also holds true for the common cold. However, as prevention measures from the pandemic have relaxed, we are likely to see illnesses return to pre-pandemic levels.
Since the pandemic, any new name for an illness unfamiliar to most people can cause anxiety and fear. However, this is unnecessary with all we hear about “Norovirus,” as it has existed for many years. It just happens to be named after Norwalk, Ohio, due to the significant outbreak they experienced.
If hearing the word “Norovirus” has instilled a sense of grave concern, there is no need to panic. As with any illness, washing your hands and giving your best effort to keep a distance from obviously ill people, common sense measures will help prevent you from experiencing the virus. Unfortunately, however, stomach viruses are pretty standard, and no matter what we do, if we are exposed, we may become infected, as we all have in the past in one form or another.
Norovirus is not new, and certainly not the latest pandemic. You should take measures to remain hydrated with stomach flu and a stomach bug, but do not worry. Remedies will remain stocked on the shelves of every drugstore and grocery store.
Your comments are welcomed, and I always reply. Also, please follow me on Newsbreak for breaking news, follow-ups, and stories of interest.
Comments / 1