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Source: University health / University health

The 2023-2024 norovirus season is in full swing in the United States, with a steady increase in cases of the highly contagious stomach bug that induces diarrhea and vomiting.

Despite being commonly referred to as the “stomach flu,” it’s crucial to note that norovirus is not related to the influenza viruses responsible for the flu.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is a primary cause of acute gastroenteritis, resulting in inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This leads to intense episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps.

Symptoms typically begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure, appearing suddenly and causing significant discomfort. Although most individuals will recover independently, norovirus is highly contagious, posing a risk to anyone. Annually in the U.S., it contributes to approximately 20 million cases of vomiting and diarrhea, 465,000 emergency room visits, 109,000 hospitalizations, and 900 deaths, as reported by the CDC.

While norovirus can spread throughout the year, cases and outbreaks are most prevalent in winter. Presently, cases are escalating nationwide, with a surge in outbreaks observed in the Northeast and Western regions of the U.S.

Read the full story here.