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Stomach Bug - Will You Call In Sick?

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julia002 View Drop Down

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    Posted: January 25 2013 at 10:50am

As if the first flu which hit the US wasn't enough, now there is a second flu-like illness which is in reality a new strain of the stomach bug sweeping the globe.  Health officials say that the newest bug is called the Sydney strain.

Since September of 2011, more than 140 outbreaks in the U.S. have been caused by the new Sydney strain of norovirus.

It is not considered dangerous. But it is different, and many people might not be able to fight off its gut-wrenching effects.

The new strain is making people sick in Japan, Western Europe, and other parts of the world.   In the U.S., it is now accounting for about 60 percent of norovirus outbreaks, according to report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Norovirus once known as Norwalk virus is highly contagious and often spreads in places like schools, cruise ships and nursing homes, especially during the winter. Last month, 220 people on the Queen Mary II were stricken during a Caribbean cruise.

Sometimes called the stomach flu, the virus causes bouts of vomiting and diarrhea for a few days.

Every two or three years, a new strain evolves the last was in 2009. The Sydney strain's appearance has coincided with a spike in influenza, perhaps contributing to the perception that this is a particularly bad flu season in the U.S.

Ian Goodfellow, a prominent researcher at England's University of Cambridge, calls norovirus 'the Ferrari of viruses' for the speed at which it passes through a large group of people.

"It can sweep through an environment very, very quickly. You can be feeling quite fine one minute and within several hours suffer continuous vomiting and diarrhea," he said.

Health officials have grown better at detecting new strains and figuring out which one is the culprit. They now know that norovirus is also the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S.

It's spread by infected food handlers who don't do a good job washing their hands after using the bathroom. But unlike salmonella and other foodborne illnesses, norovirus can also spread in the air, through droplets that fly when a sick person vomits. 

It can also be spread through close contact and by touching those who have the virus.  This is why people who are sick should stay home and not go to work or other locations where they could spread the virus through touch.

"It's a headache" to try to control, said Dr. John Crane, a University of Buffalo infectious disease specialist who had to deal with a norovirus outbreak in a hospital ward a couple of years ago.

Each year, noroviruses cause an estimated 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths, the CDC says.

For those infected, there's really no medicine. They just have to ride it out for the day or two of severe symptoms, and guard against dehydration, experts said.

If you get sick, will you stay home or will you tough it out and go, possibly causing everyone you work with to get sick?  One of the biggest problems with the first flu virus was that sick people would go to work, school or other locations and pause the virus around. 

This is turn would have people take the virus home to their families.

It is a vicious circle which can be cut short by staying home when you are ill.

The big question?  Will you stay home if you get sick or not?

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Karen Shelton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Karen Shelton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 25 2013 at 1:35pm
I hope everyone who is sick stays home. 

I have gotten sick in the past from people coming to work who were sick...knew they were sick....but thought they could tough it out.

Whenever I feel like I'm getting sick I immediately go into self-imposed quarantine.

That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger or drives you totally insane. :-)
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Ericachristina View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ericachristina Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 25 2013 at 7:05pm
We had something similar going around in Toronto in December it was terrible. We had some cousins who came to visit after having it and by Christmas my entire family went down hard. It was terrible and caused weakness, pains, and uncontrollable vomiting. I was the only one who didn't get it very bad, just some stomach pains so I was up making soup and warming up hot water bottles and making tea for my entire family, Christmas dinner wasn't very eventful.

Lets hope people stay home.

Edited by Ericachristina - January 25 2013 at 7:06pm
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