What's going around? Flu and GI bug circulating in the Tri-State

Flu and GI bug circulating in the Tri-State (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Just when it appeared there was a bit of a decline in the flu there are reports of another bad bug going around in the Tri-State-- and this one is highly contagious.

Infection control experts want you to know more about it.

The flu is still a problem, both locally and nationwide, but the same recommendations for preventing the flu may also play a critical role in another virus that is spreading across the country. It's one that is common in the local area, as well.

“There's been a record number of cases reported this year,” said Carla Parham, an infection prevention specialist.

When it comes to the flu, the bad news is that you can get it more than once, although usually it's a different strain.

“You can, and we have actually seen a handful of people come through our lab that have been reported earlier in the season, and then got it a second time,” said Parham.

According to this infection control team, the end of the season may be near.

“Just within the last week to ten days, we are starting to see some ‘B Strain’, which is important, because 'B Strain' tends to come at the end of influenza season,” said Michele Wilbers, an infection control manager at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare.

Until the season ends, handwashing is considered crucial to stop these highly contagious flu strains. It is also considered important to disinfect things frequently in “high touch areas” and to use disinfection wipes to clean counters, door knobs, handles and anything that might be touched frequently.

In addition, there have also been reports of another contagious virus that is also circulating in the Olympic Village. It's called “Norovirus”.

“Norovirus is a very contagious stomach virus. Anybody can get Norovirus,” said Wilbers.

Wilbers says this is also the bug that you often hear about spreading on cruise ships.

“We don't necessarily know that it's Norovirus, although Norovirus is kind of normal to this area, so it wouldn't be terribly surprising to see Norovirus starting to come around,” said Wilbers.

"You get norovirus by a couple of different ways-- coming in contact with someone who is sick, coming in contact with contaminated food or water or even coming in contact with a contaminated surface or object,” said Wilbers.

Which, for prevention, again means cleaning your hands and high touch areas.

“Wash your hands, always wash your hands, wash any foods... so fruits and vegetables... prepare meats properly, disinfect surfaces, stay home when you are ill, staying away from people who present with those symptoms,” said Wilbers.

Just like with the flu, you can get really dehydrated with this gastrointestinal bug, Norovirus or not. So it's suggested if you start to get worse instead of better in a few days, you should seek medical attention.

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