Confirmed Norwalk Virus at Fowlerville High School

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Norovirus, or Norwalk virus, is just one of many viruses that can cause gastroenteritis. This is commonly known as the stomach flu.

Administrators at Fowlerville High School say the number of absent students is back down closer to normal. This is a good sign the worst of the illness has passed.

Local doctors say stomach viruses like this are very contagious. The best way to protect yourself is by frequently washing your hands thoroughly.

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Norwalk Virus

  • The Norwalk virus infection is an intestinal illness that often occurs in outbreaks.

  • Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are increasingly being recognized as leading causes of food borne disease in the United States.

  • The viruses are passed in the stool of infected persons. People get infected by swallowing stool-contaminated food or water. Outbreaks in the United States are often linked to raw oysters.

  • Infected people usually recover in 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects.

Protecting yourself from the Norwalk Virus.

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water frequently. Always wash after visits to the washroom and before preparing or eating food.

  • Cook all shellfish thoroughly before eating.

  • Always wash raw vegetables before eating.

  • Dispose of sewage in a sanitary manner.

Where does the virus come from and who is at risk?

  • The virus was first identified in 1972 after an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness in Norwalk, Ohio.

  • Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses are found worldwide.

  • Anyone can get Norwalk virus infection, but it may be more common in adults and older children.

Symptoms of Norwalk Virus infection.

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

  • Severe illness or hospitalization is uncommon.

  • No specific treatment is available. Persons who are severely dehydrated might need rehydration therapy.

Source: The Association of State and Territorial Directors of Health Promotion and Public Health Education’s (ASTDHPPHE) Web site contributed to this report (www.astdhopphe.org).


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