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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Norovirus outbreak limited

    University Medical Center reported that there have been no new cases of students showing symptoms of what is suspected to be a norovirius following the admission of 15 to 20 UA students over the weekend.

    Though lab results are pending, “”it is believed to be a norovirus,”” which is not typically life-threatening but is “”very uncomfortable,”” said David Salafsky, interim director of health promotion and preventative services at Campus Health.

    Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and a low-grade fever, Salafsky said.

    All of the students showing these symptoms who were admitted to UMC over the weekend were members of the same fraternity, Salafsky said. The spread of the virus “”seems pretty confined,”” he added.

    Before concluding that the spread of the virus is over, “”you want to wait a couple incubation periods,”” Salafsky said. The incubation period – how long it takes symptoms to arise after exposure – for a norovirus is 12 to 48 hours, so “”the virus has probably died out,”” he explained.

    Noroviruses are “”highly contagious because it doesn’t take many virus particles to cause an infection,”” Salafsky said. They are spread through fecal and oral transmission, he said.

    The best way to avoid catching or spreading the virus is “”to wash your hands with soap and water after every time you use the bathroom,”” Salafsky said.

    Noroviruses “”spread extremely easily in closed environments,”” said Dr. Karen Lewis, a medical director at the Arizona Department of Health Services.

    “”People use the word flu for all sorts of diseases,”” Lewis said. “”A norovirus is not influenza.”” Influenza is a very specific virus that causes a higher fever and kills 36,000 Americans every year, she said.

    Lewis encourages everyone to get a flu vaccination, though there have been no cases of the flu in Arizona reported yet this year.

    “”Influenza often doesn’t start circulating until December or even January,”” Lewis said.

    Noroviruses, on the other hand, “”really occur during the whole year,”” Lewis said.

    David Salafsky said that though there is no treatment for the stomach flu, “”most people recover after one to two days on their own,”” as long as they stay hydrated.

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