— The Florida Department of Health
recently issued a warning about norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness, spreading throughout the state, according to WFTS-TV
Sixty-one clusters of norovirus were identified between January and February of 2010, up from 47 in the same two-month period in 2009, the story stated.
Dr. Ana M. Viamonte Ros said: "This is the time of year when norovirus often spreads around our communities. Frequent hand washing, especially before preparing food and after using the toilet or changing a child''s diaper, is the most effective means of preventing the spread of norovirus and other communicable diseases. Other important preventive measures include practicing proper food handling and preparation methods and disinfecting surfaces."
According to the story, norovirus can be transmitted person to person, as well as through contaminated water, food or surfaces.
There is no known treatment for norovirus, and people with symptoms are encouraged to get plenty of rest, consume extra liquids to avoid dehydration and stay home to avoid spreading the virus, the story noted.
For most people, the symptoms, which include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramping and fever, typically last 24 to 48 hours, the story added.