New strain of stomach virus could be here in Kentucky

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It’s easily passed from person to person and doctors say it can make you feel very sick.

They’re warning people in some central Kentucky counties about a fast-spreading stomach virus.

This winter's cold weather is keeping people inside and in close quarters which is allowing sicknesses, like the norovirus, to spread easily.

“We have had a lot of reports of illness in the community and the schools of G.I. symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and fever,” said Pam Spradling, the Director of Administrative Services at the Montgomery County Health Department.

Spradling says the county hasn't had any confirmed norovirus cases yet.

But she says it is common for people to think they have the flu when they actually have norovirus.

“A lot of the times we hear people call norovirus the stomach flu which isn't true. It is not the flu. The flu is influenza and a completely different virus.”

Each year, the highly contagious norovirus causes about 21 million illnesses, including 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently, many schools in our area have reported low attendance due to illness.

Health experts say this isn't surprising since viruses, like the norovirus, spread the quickest in schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

There isn’t a particular treatment or vaccine against norovirus but Spradling says the best defense is remembering not to skip the sink.

Health experts say symptoms of the norovirus last for about two days.

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