Norovirus In Minnesota

A new strain of norovirus, the illness many of us mistakenly call “stomach flu,” is showing up in Minnesota, according to the state’s health department.

The new strain, called Gil.17 Kawasaki, caused many outbreaks in Asia last winter and has since migrated to the U.S., according to a Minnesota Department of Health news release. Sporadic cases occurred in Minnesota earlier this year, but the state’s first outbreak of the new strain occurred just last week.

Symptoms of norovirus can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, a run-down feeling and a mild fever. It’s different from influenza, which is a respiratory disease.

The best defense? Thorough hand-washing and proper handling of food, according to the health department.

A suspected outbreak of norovirus or any food-related illness can be reported to the health department’s foodborne illness hotline at (877) 366-3455. More information is available at the health department’s website here.

Contact health reporter John Lundy at jlundy@duluthnews.com.

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