A recent increase in gastrointestinal illness is likely due to norovirus circulating in childcare centers and in the community, Public Health Sudbury & Districts said Friday.
And it’s important to know the difference in symptoms between the two diseases, the health unit said.
“The symptoms of norovirus infection are similar to those caused by other gastrointestinal and respiratory viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19 infection,” Public Health said in a news release.
“It can be difficult to know exactly what virus is causing the infection.”
Norovirus is present in the stool and vomit of those infected. It spreads primarily through person-to-person contact or contamination of food prepared by a person who is currently ill or has been recently ill and did not wash their hands properly.
Very common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. Less common symptoms may include headache, body aches, and sometimes fever.
“Norovirus symptoms most often present very suddenly and involve frequent and multiple episodes of vomiting and diarrhea that last for one to two days,” the health unit said.
“People with norovirus do not have respiratory symptoms such as cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath, which are more likely to indicate the virus is respiratory in nature, even if accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea “
People with norovirus typically become ill 24 to 48 hours after exposure and can spread the virus in their stool for up to several days after the symptoms stop. People with gastrointestinal illness must stay home until the symptoms have been gone for a minimum of 48 hours.
Although there is no specific treatment for norovirus, drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is recommended.
Learn more about norovirus and the importance of handwashing by clicking here or by calling the health unit at 705-522-9200, ext. 464, toll-free 1.866.522.9200.