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Norovirus hits hard in Branch County


COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The health department in Coldwater is confirming what a lot of people around here have recently experienced firsthand, an uptick in fever and chills with Norovirus making its presence felt. The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency Thursday reported an uptick in “stomach flu” type ailments. Norovirus brings with it extreme diarrhea and vomiting and as its name suggests, is caused by a virus. It is highly contagious and known to spread quickly in congregate areas, such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Symptoms of Norovirus may include a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms onset occur suddenly and begin within the first 24-48 hours of exposure. Often times the virus only lasts a day or two and does not require medical attention for recovery. That’s the good news!

There are no vaccines or antibiotics that will help prevent or lessen the severity of this disease. Norovirus spreads easily. The disease can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with an infected person. A second way transmission occurs is when an infected person contaminates food or drink during preparation and unknowingly spreads the disease to others. It’s important to realize that an infected person is contagious from the moment they begin to feel sick until three days after they have recovered. Individuals at highest risk for developing complications from Norovirus include infants, the elderly, and those people with underlying chronic diseases, i.e., heart disease, diabetes, COPD, etc.