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County Health Official Clarifies What Norovirus Is

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County and state health officials are continuing an investigation into a Norovirus outbreak that has left nearly 200 people ailing in the Casper area.

Officials with the state of Wyoming’s health department and the Casper-Natrona County Public Health Department are clarifying what exactly Norovirus is.

Public health director Robert Harrington says Norovirus is an extremely contagious viral infection of the intestines with pronounced symptoms that last for about two days.

“Norovirus is self-limiting, which means that, in most cases, it will correct itself without any treatment,” Harrington said. “However, it’s always good advice to someone that, if they’re not sure that they’re feeling better, or if they think they’re getting worse, they should seek medical attention.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Norovirus symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, headaches, body aches and diarrhea. Symptoms of dehydration may also persist.

The CDC says Norovirus, which is a leading cause of food borne illness, leads to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year.

Harrington says his agency generally expects a rise in Norovirus reports in December. Harrington, however, says this December has been radically different and notably unusual.

“This particular syndrome used to be known as ‘winter vomiting disease,’ because we see it increase significantly in the winter time as people come indoors.” Harrington said. “This, however, was far above and beyond the normal increase that we would have expected to see.”

Harrington says the state health department will release its official report in late December or January.

RELATED: Probe into Casper Food Borne Illness Outbreak Continues

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