Doctors warn of contagious norovirus spreading in the Philadelphia region

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Doctors warn of contagious norovirus spreading in Northeast
Doctors warn of contagious norovirus spreading in the Philadelphia region

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There's a highly contagious stomach virus spreading throughout the Northeast, leaving many people sick with unpleasant symptoms.

The CDC says cases of the norovirus are on the rise and is advising infected people to stay home to prevent more people from getting sick.

"It's scary because at this point you don't know what to expect," said Likia Hagans, who added that her best friend just got over the virus. She hopes she doesn't fall victim next.

"Constant handwashing, back to masks for most of us. Not being able to do anything about it once you catch it I think is the scariest part," said Hagans.

Doctors say those infected become contagious quickly.

'Typically, we think the peak is around one to three days after symptoms come on," said Dr. Aaron Martin, a gastroenterologist for Jefferson Health.

He says the symptoms are easy to distinguish from a common cold or the flu, which are typically, "cough, sore throat, usually high fevers. So more so respiratory symptoms as opposed to norovirus which is gonna be pretty quick onset."

He says the virus has a quick onset and is quickly spreading. Over the past few months, positivity rates for the virus have climbed to over 16% in the northeast United States.

"Mainly because we're indoors, close contact with other people. So around this time we typically see each year," said Martin.

While there's no cure for the virus, there are steps you can take to prevent it including washing your hands frequently and staying away from people who are sick.

"Wash up," said Michael Derosoiers, who believes the solution to staying healthy is simple.

"I think we've proved personal hygiene normally knocks a lot of these things out," he said.

The CDC recommends if you do get infected, to stay home for at least 48 hours after symptoms stop. Doctors also recommend keeping your distance from people most vulnerable including children, the elderly, and those who are immunocompromised.