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Posted on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Public Health: Norovirus circulating in Washtenaw County

By Julie Baker

With at least one outbreak of the norovirus confirmed and many more suspected, Washtenaw County Public Health officials are reminding residents of the symptoms of the gastrointestinal illness and how to stop it from spreading.


Health officials advise frequent hand washing to combat norovirus.


Several outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness have been reported to the health department in the past month.

Noroviruses are highly contagious viruses that cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Some people also experience headache, low grade fever, and body aches. Symptoms usually last for 24 to 48 hours, according to officials.

Epidemiologist Laura Bauman said the county has heard from a couple of nursing homes and a private party of 25 people that experienced viruslike symptoms recently. Additionally, she's heard anecdotally that a number of day cares have children home sick with similar symptoms.

This is the typical time of year for outbreaks of the virus, she said.

Norovirus is transmitted by eating contaminated food (food that was prepared or handled by another ill person), by touching surfaces or objects (such as doorknobs, faucets, handles, etc.) contaminated with norovirus and then touching the mouth, and by having direct contact with a person who is infected and showing symptoms, according to Public Health.

To prevent the spread, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you are ill, disinfect objects with bleach-based cleaning solutions and do not prepare food for others if you are ill.

More information is available here:



Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

As your article from Nov. 28th indicates AAPS failed in preventing this outbreak because they were not required to disclose information like the name of the school(s) involved. How many times will we allow this board to fail? Who's with me on a class-action? I have many family members who Christmas did not need to involve what it did.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

Oh man, I work with kids all day...


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

I'll add two items to the great suggestions: In a public restroom, after washing your hands, use a paper towel to open the door. If there is no hot water in the restroom, ask the store/restaurant manager to correct the problem. I avoid restaurants that don't have hot water when the staff uses the same restroom without hot water.


Thu, Dec 29, 2011 : 5:36 a.m.

So you never eat out? Restaurants with hot water in the restrooms are very, very scarce.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

I've noticed a disgusting trend at restaurants ... adults seemingly thinking it's ok to pick their noses while out in public in a restaurant. I mean, how disgusting, and filthy a habit is that? I can only stare at them and hope to catch their eye in disgust but they don't even notice. Sure, share your germs and your snot all over the tables, plates, etc. How gross and disgusting can you be?


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

Well this answers my question. Over christmas this spread through our immediate and extended family in a rapid pace. 11 people so far (that I know of) including myself. Some with worst symtoms then others. Pay attention. It's been along time since I've seen something spread this quickly.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

Please, if you are sick, STAY HOME. Why do so many people think they are doing the right thing by going to work when they are sick? Also, don't send your kids to school/day care when they are sick. Keep them home!!!!


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

My boss frowns on sick time use, and I need the job. So keep washing your hands cause I'll be at work no matter what.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

This is great if you get sick days but in this economy, if you don't work you don't get paid! So, off to work I go.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

The sad thing is that so many parents have no alternative for when their child is sick, so they feel they have to send them to daycare/school. These are parents who will lose income when they stay home with a sick child, so they fill them up with medication and drop them off! I especially love the parents who send their child to school either with a note (or maybe send an email) indicating that their child had the runs or was throwing up all night, and would it be possible for me to watch them carefully? Children will share with their teacher that they were sick, and yes "Mommy knows" but they are still in the classroom, sharing their germs!

little bird

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

As much as parents hate to think about it, daycares are major contributors to this sort of thing. I worked in one for 10 years, and this nasty bug cannot be contained! One year we had 12 kids and 8 parents come down with it in one week. People fail to realize you're still contagious even after you feel better. If you've got the time off work, you might wanna keep your walking petri dish at home. ;)


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

Myself and another family member came down with it the day after Christmas, along with three others that were at the same Christmas Eve party. Not a fun end to a holiday. Wash your hands and stay away from anyone who complains of nausea.


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

Washing, washing, washing hands is one very important way to help decrease spreading or getting the virus. And, the washing is more than just swiping your hands under the tap water. Hot water, soap, and rub hands together for a length of time. It really does help.

Jim Nazium

Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

This is where it is helpful to learn the way of the Germophobe. If you assume every surface of anything you come in contact with in anyway at all is covered in feces, you will strongly decrease your chances of contracting this nasty illness. I know it sounds extreme but think of it as a game the next time you go out in public and see if you can decontaminate your hands before spreading the "outside germs" to your cellphone, keys, face, eyes, mouth, wallet/purse, etc... This is how I view the outside world sometimes, especially during cold/flu season and now especially since we have a little one at home. Better safe then sorry I say. Plus I am not so sure we'll be eating out anytime soon....


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

Disgusting but so so true. Ever see one of your co-workers who never wash their hands.. yuck!!.. bosses grandkids gave it to them and 3 others..


Wed, Dec 28, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.