An outbreak that sickened more than 160 schoolkids in Manchester in recent days was likely from the same family of germs that ruined a cruise for hundreds of travelers on a Caribbean cruise ship, cut short an Iowa riverboat casino’s trip last month and caused a rash of illness among staffers at an Omaha hospital two weeks ago.
State Epidemiologist Doctor Patricia Quinlisk says your mom may have called this the stomach flu, but it’s not flu at all. This is not the flu, she says. In fact, genuine influenza has respiratory symptoms and fever, and seldom even involves the nausea and diarrhea typical of this outbreak.
“Calling it the stomach flu, unfortunately, is just incorrect,” Quinlisk says. “We really need to call it what it is…the best name for it is norovirus. That’s a group of viruses that unfortunately are quite common, quite contagious, and unfortunately cause nausea and vomiting and diarrhea.”
Quinlisk says the good news is that most of the people who get this will be sick for a day or two but then recover, and there’s no long-lasting consequence of getting norovirus. While it’s an old refrain, she says frequent hand-washing is the best way to avoid spreading the germ.