UPDATE: Norovirus numbers prompt outbreak declaration in Zamboanga City

An outbreak of the gastrointestinal virus, norovirus, has sickened some 700 people, primarily children, and killed four, according to city officials.

Norovirus/CDC
Norovirus/CDC

According to a Manila Times report, most of those affected by the virus were residents of the following barangays: Santa Catalina, Tumaga, Upper Calarian, Mampang, San Roque, Santa Barbara, Tetuan, Talon-Talon and Tugbungan, where there is acute water shortage due to the extreme weather phenomenon called El Niño.

This has prompted government officials to advise residents to maintain good hygiene and cleanliness, to include most importantly, good handwashing.

The source of the outbreak has not been identified.

Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritisstomach flu, and food poisoning.

The symptoms include nausea,vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever,chills,headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.

Zamboanga City is located in Mindanao, Philippines. Zamboanga is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines.

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