Norovirus is Leading Cause of Severe Gastroenteritis in Children, Hits RI
The norovirus has arrived to Rhode Island. It is now considered to be the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis among children.
A gnarly virus that is often confused with the stomach flu has hit Rhode Island, according to WPRI. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, 28 cases were reported at Brown University.
A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine claims the Norovirus is now the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis among children less than 5 years of age.
Norovirus was responsible for nearly one million pediatric medical care visits from 2009 and 2010 in the United States, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars in treatment costs each year.
Symptoms of norovirus can include: dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, severe stomach pain and the lack of need to urinate.
The best ways to reduce the risk of norovirus infection are through proper hand washing, safe food handling, and good hygiene. The virus is not known to pass through the air.
The researchers tracked infants and young children requiring medical care for acute gastroenteritis, which causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines, from October 2008 through September 2010. The study looked at more than 141,000 children less than 5 years of age living in three U.S. counties. Lab testing was done to confirm specimens for norovirus.
Norovirus is highly contagious. Each year, more than 21 million people in the United States get infected with norovirus and develop acute gastroenteritis, and approximately 800 people die.
Young children and elderly people are more likely to suffer from severe norovirus infections. The virus spreads primarily through close contact with infected people, such as caring for someone who is ill. It also spreads through contaminated food, water and hard surfaces.