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NOROVIRUS OUTBREAK: State officials say the virus is spreading across the state. | News

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NOROVIRUS OUTBREAK: State officials say the virus is spreading across the state.
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The Iowa Department of Public Health says outbreaks of the norovirus continue to pop up.  This week, six confirmed cases were reported but officials say since most people don't report the illness they believe there are dozens more statewide.

The virus which is commonly mistaken for the "stomach bug" include symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping.

Doctors strongly recommend taking a few days off if you don't feel well, to help prevent the virus from spreading.

“The best thing is stay home if you're sick, because then you're not going to spread that illness on to others, and just making sure we washing our hands frequently will help prevent spread as well,” says Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Ann Garvey.

In the last couple weeks outbreaks have been confirmed in Polk, Johnson, Scott, Black Hawk, Dubuque and Winneshiek counties.

The virus is spread very easily through the air, shaking hands, touching door knobs or counters, and in food.

State officials say on top of the high numbers they're seeing in the norovirus they also expect flu cases to increase in the coming weeks.

"There is a lot of the norovirus, diarrhea and vomiting circulating in our state. We do know that we're entering the time of year when we tend to see more and more influenza cases so we do expect those illnesses to go up as well,” says Garvey.

State officials say although there is no vaccine for the norovirus, they still encourage everyone to protect themselves against the flu by getting a flu shot.

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