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Australian norovirus hitting the U.S.

January 28, 2013

NEW YORK — A new strain of norovirus, first identified in Australia and dubbed the Sydney Strain, is now spreading throughout the U.S., according to Time.

stomach fluThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the strain, technically termed GII.4 Sydney, is the current leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in the U.S., and accounted for more than 50 percent of all cases of the infection for the month of December, the article stated.

According to the article, this new strain was identified in March 2012 and has been sickening people on several continents; the CDC does say, however, that it is too early to determine whether or not this new strain is infecting people at a higher rate than previous years.

While there are currently no treatments for norovirus, Dr. John Treanor, chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a group of scientists are in the process of testing a vaccine, developed by LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals, that contains a part of the norovirus' outer layer, which they hope will generate a strong immune response in those who get immunized, the article noted.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.