‘Norovirus’ slams Northeast US hardest in recent weeks: CDC

A stomach virus known as the “norovirus” is spreading across the Northeast region of the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The three-week average positive tests for norovirus in the region reached 13.9 percent in recent weeks and held above a 10 percent positive rate since the middle of December 2023.

While the northeast region is experiencing a high number of positive norovirus cases, CDC data show that other regions are seeing positive tests in recent weeks too. The South has 9.5 percent, the Midwest has hovered around 10 percent and the West has about 12 percent.

Norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting and diarrhea and foodborne illness in the United States, the CDC said. People of all ages can become infected and the illness spreads “very easily and quickly.”

The CDC said that people can contract norovirus many times in their lifetime because there are many different types of the virus. Becoming infected with “one type of norovirus may not protect you against other types,” the advisory said.

People may develop protection against specific types of norovirus but it’s not known how long a protection may last.

Outbreaks occur most frequently during late fall, winter and early spring. Symptoms also include fever, headache, dehydration and body aches.

The CDC recommends washing your hands well with soap and water, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces with bleach, and washing laundry with hot water to prevent the spread of norovirus.

There are 19 to 21 million illnesses in the U.S. due to norovirus each year, most commonly from November to April. There are about 109,000 hospitalizations each year and 900 deaths, most commonly among older adults, the CDC said.

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