There are certain times of the year when we see a spike in particular illnesses. And right now, there appears to be quite a bump in cases of norovirus in Louisiana and Texas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cases of norovirus have steadily increased over the last few weeks.

"Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus," explains the CDC.

sick woman lying in bed
Stockbyte, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

How bad is it in our area?

The CDC has the nation broken up into four regions: West, Midwest, Northeast, and South.

(The South includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.)

The positivity rate for norovirus in the Southern region is just under 10%. While the highest mark belongs to the Northeast, we are still trending in the wrong direction. The positivity rate has gone up every week since the new year in Louisiana and Texas.

These types of gastrointestinal bugs tend to reach peak transmission around mid-March, so we're definitely in the thick of it.

Virus infection on stomach.medical background. 3d illustration .
Rasi Bhadramani

What is norovirus?

It is sometimes called the "stomach bug."

The CDC defines it as "a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea." And, anyone can get infected and sick with it.

Some people also call it the "stomach flu," however the norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus.

Blood sample positive with Norovirus

How do you get norovirus?

According to the CDC, you can get it in a few different unpleasant ways.

"You can get norovirus by accidentally getting tiny particles of feces (poop) or vomit in your mouth from a person infected with norovirus," the CDC says. You can also become infected by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food.

And due to how it's transmitted, norovirus spreads more easily in close quarters such as schools or cruise ships.

wash your hands text icon message isolated over a white background

How do you protect yourself and others from norovirus?

  • Wash your hands often
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly
  • Stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop
  • Avoid preparing food for others when sick and for two days after symptoms stop

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