A new strain of stomach bug is spreading across the U.S. today and many are confusing it with the flu. The new strain has been “sweeping the globe” since first diagnosed in Australia, according to ABC News on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. This latest norovirus is called the Sydney strain because it was first detected in Australia.
One scientist has nicknamed the Sydney strain of this virus the “Ferrari of viruses” because of the high rate of speed in which it spreads. Ian Goodfellow, a researcher at England’s University of Cambridge, reports this virus passes through a group of people very fast. The onset is quick, where one minute you are feeling fine and then within several hours you suffer continuous diarrhea and vomiting.
Because the Sydney strain is hitting at the same time the flu has run rampant through the U.S., this could contribute to the conception that this is a particularly bad flu season in the U.S. today. Although this Sydney strain of virus is extremely uncomfortable, it is not considered deadly.
This is the same virus that 220 passengers on the Queen Mary II suffered from last month. They became stricken during a Caribbean cruise. This type of virus usually sweeps through schools, nursing homes and cruise ships, as it is very contagious.
The only thing to do for this stomach bug is to ride out the couple of days of vomiting and diarrhea and be careful not to become dehydrated. The CDC reports that the Sydney strain is now accounting for about 60% of the norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. today. This is a new strain of norovirus, the last was seen in 2009. A new strain evolves every two or three years, according to ABC.
This virus can be spread by food handlers as a source of food poisoning. It starts from food preparers who do not practice safe hand washing habits after using the bathroom. Unlike other forms of food poisoning such as salmonella, this virus is also spread in the air. This happens when tiny droplets fly while a sick person vomits.