Posted By: Jenn Schanz
You may have remembered hearing about hundreds of people getting sick on a cruise ship about a month ago. Well it wasn't the flu or food poisoning; it was something even stronger.
"This is a virus. There's no shot for it, there's no pill you can take to prevent it or cure it," says Nancy Orsborn, Director of Nursing at UNL's Health Center.
It effects 20 million people a year, but health officials say in the past several weeks, it's made a big presence in Nebraska.
I spoke to Jenny Winter of Lincoln over the phone, her whole family's got it.
"I had it and then my son got it and then my husband got it and now I have it again," she says.
UNL saw about 10 cases a few weeks ago; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
"For us it started out with severe stomach cramping, the fever, and the chills," Winter says.
Symptoms usually start 12–48 hours after exposure, and last one to three days.
"A lot of people think that it's food poisoning because it is pretty severe and drastic," says Orsborn.
Health officials say it's important to drink plenty of liquids, as the symptoms can often cause dehydration.
Similar to the flu, the Norovirus is easily spread; Like when people with symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea prepare food.
You can also catch it through direct contact with someone infected.
Hand to mouth transfer after touching a contaminated surface is another way to get it.
People working in child care centers, schools or nursing homes should pay special attention to children or residents who have symptoms of Norovirus. The virus can spread very fast in these types of environments.
Additional recommendations for facilities having Norovirus outbreaks:
Suspected Norovirus outbreaks in facilities should be reported to a local health department or DHHS' Office of Epidemiology at 402-471-2937. Public health officials will work with facilities and provide guidance, recommendations and suggest appropriate testing.
Find your local health department here - http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Documents/contacts.pdf
For more information about Norovirus, go to http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/downloads/keyfacts.pdf.
Reporter Jenn Schanz is talking to health officials today. Watch tonight at 5 & 6.