Winter Vomiting Disease Outbreaks On The Rise In California

By Abbott Dutton

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A disease commonly associated with cruise ships is spreading on land at an alarming rate.

The Norovirus has a new name—winter vomiting disease—but Dr. Gil Chavez with the California Department of Public Health says it carries some nasty symptoms.

“You get vomiting, you get diarrhea, you get abdominal cramps,” he said.

There have been 32 confirmed outbreaks statewide since October, including one in San Joaquin County, though none in the Sacramento Valley region.

“We know it’s frequently common in the winter months and there’s different strains of the virus sometimes that are more aggressive in one year than the next so,” he said.

Spreading the highly contagious disease doesn’t take much—touching doorknobs, menus in restaurants, or utensils in food bars.

The good news is it’s easily preventable by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Unlike the flu, there’s no vaccine, and no medicine to fight it. You simply have to wait it out.

“People think if you’ve had the flu shot that that’ll prevent Norovirus infection and that is incorrect,” he said.

Also, the popular hand sanitizers aren’t effective, because they contain alcohol.

Symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure and last one to three days.

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