Highly contagious virus spreads throughout south Georgia - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Highly contagious virus spreads throughout south Georgia

The Norwalk virus (Source: Wiki, Prasad, B.V., Hardy, M.E., Dokland, T., Bella, J., Rossmann, M.G., Estes, M.K.) The Norwalk virus (Source: Wiki, Prasad, B.V., Hardy, M.E., Dokland, T., Bella, J., Rossmann, M.G., Estes, M.K.)
Dr. Charles Ruis of the Health District (Source: WALB) Dr. Charles Ruis of the Health District (Source: WALB)
Albany Health District (Source: WALB) Albany Health District (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Health officials are warning south Georgia residents about a highly contagious virus that is spreading around the region. 

It's called the norovirus.

It begins suddenly and symptoms could last for up to two days. The norovirus causes tens of millions of people to become ill every year. 

Just recently, a school in Calhoun County has 30 people, including staff and students, who have been infected. 

Norovirus is a group of viruses that cause the stomach flu. It causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. 

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, and low-grade fever.

Symptoms usually begin about a day or two after exposure, but can appear 12 hours after exposure. 

Ways to prevent spread of the virus include frequently washing your hands, washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, and disinfecting contaminated surfaces. 

"The tricky things about the norovirus is the symptoms can completely resolve and a person can still shed the virus in their body fluids," said Dr. Charles Ruis, District Health Director for Southwest Georgia.  "So, what we like to do is recommend that after a complete resolution has occurred, that a person still not return to normal activities for at least 48 hours."

Another unpleasant but concerning detail about the norovirus is if you're caring for someone who is infected, make sure you wear protective clothing, because the norovirus particles can become airborne. 

There's no vaccine. The norovirus can be serious in young children and the elderly. 

If you are infected, the best thing to do is rest, isolate yourself, and drink fluids. 

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