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U.S.: Noroviruses sicken 10,000 a year

Oct. 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Noroviruses, viruses transmitted by fecally contaminated food or water through person-to-person contact, cause 10,000 U.S. illnesses annually, officials say.

Researcher Aron Hall of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed noroviruses foodborne outbreaks in the United States.

"Noroviruses are the leading cause of outbreaks from contaminated food in the United States," Halls said in a statement. "These outbreaks resulted in over 10,000 illnesses, 1,200 healthcare provider visits, 150 hospitalizations and one death each year."

"Noroviruses cause acute gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This leads to diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain," Hall said. "Some people with norovirus illness may get dehydrated from vomiting and having diarrhea many times a day. They may urinate less, have a dry mouth and throat, or feel dizzy when they stand up. When someone gets infected with norovirus, they may say they have 'food poisoning' or the 'stomach flu.'"

Hall said noroviruses spread very easily, especially by sick food handlers and by eating contaminated foods like leafy vegetables, fruits, and oysters. Food handlers should wash hands carefully, not touch food barehanded and stay out of the kitchen when they're sick, Hall recommended.

Noroviruses cause acute gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This leads to diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Some people with norovirus illness may get dehydrated from vomiting and having diarrhea many times a day. They may urinate less, have a dry mouth and throat, or feel dizzy when they stand up. When someone gets infected with norovirus, they may say they have "food poisoning" or the "stomach flu." Food poisoning can be caused by noroviruses but other germs and chemicals can also cause food poisoning.

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