Stomach viruses, norovirus outbreaks in Lowcountry - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Stomach viruses, norovirus outbreaks in Lowcountry


By Nicole Johnson  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Stomach viruses are running rampant in the Lowcountry. The number of outbreaks this year has already surpassed the number from last year.

"I was like just leave me here on the bathroom floor please. Don't move me don't touch me. It was bad," said Camille Watkins.

Camille Watkins says it was the sickest she had been in her life. The most severe symptoms lasted just one day. After days of vomiting and not eating she went to the doctor, and he confirmed she had the norovirus.

"I went to a friend's oyster roast, and that's how I got it and a bunch of us got it. Not every single person, but about 90% of us got it," said Watkins.

State health officials say stomach bugs including the norovirus are what are going around the tri-county right now. So far for the region this year there's been ten outbreaks of gastrointestinal problems, a majority of which were confirmed norovirus. Last year there were eight total outbreaks.

The highly contagious bug has been called the "cruise ship virus" with hundreds of passengers on three different cruises on the Celebrity Mercury sickened with symptoms. It includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and fever.

"It's spread by contact. It's also spread by airborne. That hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but it comes into play," said registered nurse Sharon Harper. "Whenever you put people together in close proximity your chance are going to be much greater."

CDC prevention tips include: frequent hand-washing with soap and water, taking off from work when you get the symptoms, disinfecting surfaces with bleach, and proper food handling.

Watkins says after suffering the norovirus she warns everyone to take these precautions seriously.

"If someone in your family or friend has this, try to not have any contact with them. This is a sickness I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I have never felt that bad in my life," said Watkins.

Symptoms can appear as soon as 12 hours after a person is infected and usually last a day. The CDC says people are most contagious during the first three days of illness.

There are no vaccines or drugs to cure stomach viruses, but doctors say if you are sick drink lots of water and Gatorade to stay hydrated.


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