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County Fill-in-Blank News Release:  Stomach Virus

For Release: Date
Contact: Administrative Director
Phone Number

_____ County Health Department Urges Precautions to Avoid Stomach Virus

The _____ County Health Department has received reports of a large number of persons suffering from symptoms caused by a “stomach virus”. The causative virus is most likely norovirus, a very contagious virus that can spread quickly from person to person and result in a high level of illness within a community. Health officials urge the public to practice good hygiene, especially hand washing, to lessen the likelihood of contracting the virus.

Infection with norovirus usually leads to vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Headache and low-grade fever may also occur. These symptoms appear quickly and may last from one to four days. Any person of any age group can become infected with this virus.

Because this virus can appear in many strains or forms, it is difficult for the body to develop immunity to the virus. Although the virus is spread easily, serious illness rarely occurs.

The virus can be spread through several different methods including eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminated with the virus; touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated, and then placing your hands in your mouth; or having direct contact with another person who has the virus and has experienced diarrhea or vomiting.

No specific treatment is available. A loss of fluids can worsen the symptoms, so it is important that people stay hydrated and drink plenty of clear fluids. There is no vaccine available and antibiotics should not be used.
Several precautions can be taken to possibly avoid being infected by this virus including the following:

  • Wash hands thoroughly after each bathroom visit and before preparing food.
  • Make certain that persons with diarrhea do not prepare food for others until their symptoms have stopped.
  • Avoid putting fingers or objects, such as pens, in your mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Remove and wash clothing, linens, or toys that are soiled with the stool or vomit.
  • Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.

If you have questions concerning this virus, contact your doctor or the _____ County Health Department at (phone number). Additional information is also available at
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus-qa.htm.

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