New Norovirus strain cases rise

Published On: Jan 25 2013 05:42:33 PM CST
HOUSTON -

A nasty strain of Norovirus, a highly-contagious stomach bug, has circled the globe and landed in the United States.

It's too soon to know whether the new strain will lead to more outbreaks than in previous years, however, it could be a big concern for people who go on cruises.

The Sydney strain was first detected last spring in Australia. It's been blamed for more than half the outbreaks in the last four months of 2012. In December, about 100 passengers on a cruise from Italy to Galveston were infected with Norovirus.

Doctors said cases normally spike in January.

"It usually lasts about 24 to 48 hours," said Dr. Nick Solomos. "There's no cure for it or treatment for it, other than riding it out and make sure you are real hydrated."

Dehydration from the illness is one of the biggest concerns because it can cause a drop in blood pressure, which can lead to fainting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised health professionals to be on the lookout for outbreaks of the mutated stomach bug.

People are encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water, disinfect surfaces and rinse fruits and vegetables.