Saturday, March 23, 2013

Norovirus Strikes!

Happy Spring Break to all! I know one reason I'm happy to get off campus for a bit is to get away from the various illnesses circulating campus as winter drags on into late March (alas, I was still a victim of a hearty case of the common cold). One particularly nasty bug that has made its presence known is norovirus, or the stomach bug, which can infect a poor, unsuspecting student if only a few virus particles make contact with the host.

Alarmed by how serious the impact of norovirus was on College Hill this winter, I researched a bit to see how other parts of the country and the world fared this season. Turns out, not so hot: I found out from this BBC video that this year saw many more cases of stomach flu worldwide because a new strain of norovirus called "Sydney 2012" was responsible for infecting millions of people with the "winter vomiting bug" (as the Brits call it) from the UK to the US. Apparently, new strains don't make an appearance too often (at least not on an annual basis, like influenza), but when they do, the number of infected persons that season is distinctly higher than normal years. With no vaccine or sure-fire cure for the virus, the best that can be done to prevent infection is constant hand washing, but for those who do have the misfortune of acquiring it, be sure to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Take care to help prevent the spread of infectious disease! But don't worry, spring should be right around the corner...!

Marisa M.

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