What You Don’t Know About Norovirus
It's been making it's way around the Hudson Valley and it's not pretty.
We all know at least one or two people this season suffering from the stomach flu, which goes by a few names lie the winter vomiting virus and norovirus. It's peak season for influenza (flu) and the norovirus to make it's appearance, usually hanging around from January until March. According to the Center for Disease Control 2017 has been an average year for the norovirus.
Since we're all trying to avoid getting sick NBC news put together information that we may not know about the norovirus. NBC spoke to the Center for Disease Control norovirus expert, Doctor Aaron Hall, to break down what we need to know to prevent ourselves from the virus.
- Norovirus and Influenza mutate alike.
The viruses are completely different, but use RNA instead of DNA which according to Dr. Hall hat "makes them both highly mutation-prone, which in turn makes it hard for the human immune system to defend against them."
- It's resistant to many common disinfectants
A structure called "capsid" surrounds the norovirus and it harder to break through. Alcohol can't cut through it, which is why even using hand sanitizer doesn't prevent the norovirus. Dr. Hall suggests using bleach to clean sheets and very hot water to kill the virus.
- It Spreads Easily
Very much like the flu, after you get better you're still carrying around a product of the norovirus. Dr. Hall recommends staying home from work or school a day or two after you start feeling better.
- One Person can Infect Hundreds
Combined a hard to kill virus and people feeling who don't feel sick any more returning to their normal routine...you've got yourself a fast spreading virus. As Dr. Hall says ""One ill food worker or even a worker who recovered has the potential to expose literally hundreds of people."
- A Vaccine is in the Works
According to NBC News, globally, 200,000 die a year from Norovirus. A drug company called Takeda is currently working on a vaccine. Their researchers found " 20 percent of people of European origin have a genetic mutation that protects them from common norovirus strains, something that might help in development of better vaccines."