Butterflies stirring in your stomach? More likely, it is that new, nasty norovirus bug causing your gut-wrenching symptoms.
The GII.4 Sydney sounds more like the name of a rock band or a new cruise line than a new strain of norovirus. Instead, it is an easily transmittable, highly contagious bug that causes bouts of diarrhea and vomiting.
While this strain is not considered unusually dangerous, some – particularly young children, the elderly and anyone having other medical conditions – have higher risks which may lead to hospitalization or death. These bugs tend to spread quickly through schools, restaurants, cruise ships and nursing homes. In fact, this strain was blamed for a recent outbreak on the Queen Mary 2. During its voyage December 22, 2012 to January 3, 2013, 204 passengers and 16 crew members developed the GII.4 Sydney.
A prominent researcher at England’s University of Cambridge, Ian Goodfellow, calls norovirus the Ferrari of viruses due to the speed at which it passes through a large number of people. It can sweep through an environment very, very quickly. You can be feeling quite fine one minute and within several hours suffer continuous vomiting and diarrhea, he said.
Experts say there’s really no treatment for those infected. People just have to ride out the day or two of severe symptoms, and guard against dehydration.
As in sports, the best offense is a good defense. Know the best strategies for combating norovirus: proper hand washing; wiping down contaminated surfaces; and isolating people who are ill.
By all means, if there is even the slightest chance you have been infected, please do everyone a favor – stay home and get well. Your co-workers and anyone else you may have had contact with will be most appreciated.