Georgia Department of Health warns of stomach flu in Southwest Georgia

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By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 12, 2018

ALBANY, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Georgia Department of Public Health's Southwest Public Health District is reporting that, along with widespread flu activity in Southwest Georgia, there's another bug circulating.

DPH says the norovirus, or stomach flu, is also going around in Southwest Georgia.

"We are getting reports of it in places like childcare facilities," said Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Charles Ruis.

DPH says unlike seasonal influenza, there is no vaccine to prevent norovirus.

The organization says the following are ways to best reduce chances of getting the norovirus:

  • Avoid people who are sick if possible, even though it is the holiday season. Consider using video-chatting apps rather than spending time with people who are ill.
  • Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
  • People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.
  • After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label. If no such cleaning product is available, you can use a solution made with 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully—disturbing them as little as possible—to avoid spreading the virus. If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. The items should be washed with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried.
  • People who have been sick should remain home for two to three days after symptoms have stopped before returning to school or work to avoid spreading the infection.
  • The Southwest Public Health District serves the following counties:

    Baker County
    Calhoun County
    Colquitt County
    Decatur County
    Dougherty County
    Early County
    Grady County
    Lee County
    Miller County
    Mitchell County
    Seminole County
    Terrell County
    Thomas County
    Worth County

    For more information about norovirus, visit www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.