California state health officials said they are working with local public health departments across the state to help control norovirus outbreaks that have increased in the past few weeks, and are occurring in schools and other institutional settings.
“Norovirus outbreaks usually have an annual peak like we are seeing now. They can be particularly large and disruptive in schools, affecting both students and teachers,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Norovirus is very infectious and can spread rapidly wherever people congregate and share food and bathroom facilities. Fortunately, most people with norovirus infection will recover quickly, usually in one to three days.”
In Yolo County, which has been hit very hard by norovirus, announced the Woodland Joint Unified School District (WJUSD), has decided to close Dingle and Tafoya elementary schools on Friday, May 26, to limit further transmission of the Norovirus in these two schools, which have experienced particularly high rates of the illness.
Current reported numbers of affected students and school staff in Yolo County since May 1 is 3,374.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are between 19-21 million cases of norovirus illness each year in the U.S. Additionally, CDC estimates that norovirus contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths each year in the U.S.
The spread of Norovirus can be prevented by practicing proper hand hygiene. Important strategies include washing hands with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers, and always before eating and preparing or handling food.
Symptoms of Norovirus include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. Symptoms last for 1-3 days. However, after symptoms go away, people are still highly infectious, especially the first 48 hours. There is no treatment for Norovirus. The most important steps to prevent the spread of Norovirus is to stay home if you are sick, and for another 48 hours after symptoms go away, and to regularly wash hands.
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