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Kanawha health officials warn of highly contagious norovirus

By From staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County health officials are warning of the highly contagious norovirus, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhea and fever.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has recently noted an uptick in the number of callers seeking information about how to prevent the spread of stomach illnesses, according to a press release from the department.

"Based on recent national reports, KCHD suspects that a virus known as norovirus may be the culprit," the release said. "Each year, norovirus causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths."

Symptoms include the sudden onset of stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Those symptoms may be accompanied by fever, headache and body aches.

Most people recover fully within one to three days, but those with underlying health problems, the elderly and the young are at risk for being hospitalized. You can get the virus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Officials urge everyone to wash their hands with soap and water regularly, especially before eating and after using a toilet. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should not be used as a substitute for hand washing to prevent the norovirus.

For more information call 304-344-5243 or visit www.kchdwv.org or www.cdc.gov/norovirus


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