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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 21, 2012, 09:14 PM

Local hospitals are seeing an outbreak of norovirus

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Everyone's looking to spread a little holiday cheer this weekend, but if they aren't careful, they might be spreading something else. Minnesotans are coming down with an outbreak of norovirus, and Fargo hospitals are seeing it, too.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Everyone's looking to spread a little holiday cheer this weekend, but if they aren't careful, they might be spreading something else. Minnesotans are coming down with an outbreak of norovirus, and Fargo hospitals are seeing it, too.

The upcoming weekend is a time when many families get together to share the holidays, but hopefully, they aren't also sharing a nasty bug.

Just before the holiday weekend, the Minnesota Department of Health is warning of a norovirus outbreak and Fargo hospitals are seeing their fair share of cases.

Dr. Hamilton: "This is something that we're seeing hit whole families. One person will come in, the next day everybody else is coming in."

The norovirus affects the stomach and intestines, causing cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea. It usually lasts just a few days.

Dr. Baird: "It will usually pass and not be a problem. We worry about it in people who are getting dehydrated, especially the elderly or young children."

The virus lurks in the stool or vomit of infected people and is highly contagious.

Since norovirus often spreads from hand to mouth contact, it's a good idea to disinfect counters and door handles... but the most important thing to do is wash your hands.

Dr. Baird: "It's always good, in any circumstance, to wash your hands, but especially if you've been ill."

Dr. Hamilton: "Bleach kills it. So, you can put a tablespoon bleach in a quart of water, just wipe everything down occasionally, that will kill it."

Norovirus can live on a surface for up to 8 hours. Influenza is starting to hit the area, as well. Doctors say most cases are in patients who did not get vaccinated.

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