Afraid of Getting Norovirus? These Bloomfied-area Resources Can Help
A new norovirus strain was detected last year in Australia and has reached the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the norovirus causes about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year, mostly in young children and the elderly. And this year is no exception, and may be worse than outbreaks in recent years.
A new norovirus strain, called GII.4 Sydney — for where in Australia it was detected last year — hit England and sickened more than a million people. It recently reached the United States and is having a major impact. Of norovirus cases reported from September to December, 54 percent have been identified as GII.4 Sydney, according to recently released data.
Some of the virus' common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. The CDC points out that the norovirus is often referred to as the stomach flu, but it is unrelated to influenza.
Roughly 21 million illnesses are attributable to norovirus in the U.S. each year, reports the CDC. Of those, approximately 25 percent can be attributed to foodborne transmissions. The norovirus can also spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships.
The Bad News
This hardy virus is extremely contagious. The BBC reports that norovirus is one of the few infections you can catch from a toilet seat, and can survive temperatures as high as 140°F.
Noroviruses can live in vomit or stool even before a person experiences symptoms, and up to two weeks after symptoms disappear. People are most contagious when they experience symptoms and during the first three days after recovery, reports the CDC. The natural environment for norovirus is the human intestine, but like any virus it can live for a several days outside of a human host.
There is no treatment or vaccine against norovirus.
Of Interest: 5 Tips to Prevent Norovirus From Spreading
The Good News
If you've got it, or had it, there are local places and people that can help. Here are a few specialists in gastroenterology with offices in Bloomfield Hills:
Dr. Mouhib Ayas
43700 Woodward Ave Suite 210
Dr. Waseem Alam
43344 Woodward Ave Suite 111
Dr. Mehdi Baluch
43344 Woodward Ave Suite 111
Michigan Digestive Associates PC
43368 Woodward Ave. Suite 104
Dr. Safiul Hasan
43700 Woodward Ave. Suite 210
If your norovirus-related illness caused long-term personal or financial hardship, and you believe someone or something specific was the cause, there may be legal options. Buckfire and Buckfire, a Southfield-based legal firm with lawyers that specialize in norovirus and food poisoning cases handles such cases and represent clients in the Detroit area, including Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Birmingham and Troy, according to the firm's website, Those suffering illness from food poisoning can also pursue their legal rights against a restauarant or food distributor.