MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Health officials are reminding area residents to carefully observe personal hygiene practices in wake of confirmed seasonal outbreaks of Norovirus-related illness at community health-care facilities in Berkeley County.
Though not uncommon this time of year, "Norovirus is highly contagious and is transmitted primarily through hand transfer of the virus to the mouth, by direct person-to-person spread, and through vomit or fecal contamination of food or water," Berkeley County Health Officer Diana Gaviria said in a news release Thursday.
Unlike seasonal flu, Norovirus is not a respiratory illness and is primarily characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms of Norovirus infection include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, low fever, chills, muscle aches and tiredness.
The illness often is suddenly realized within 12 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus. There is no vaccine against it, and no antiviral drug is effective, officials said.