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Norovirus Cases In Minnesota Expected To Rise Up To 50%

Update Date: Dec 28, 2015 09:28 AM EST

As the cold season sets in, Minnesota health officials warned of further norovirus outbreaks responsible for a number of sudden intestinal illnesses like vomiting, watery diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Other symptoms include headache, mild fever, and nausea.

Also called as the winter-vomiting disease, this new strain of norovirus dubbed as 'GII.17 Kawasaki' has seen a recent alarming upsurge in California and elsewhere across the United States since September.

The virus originated in Asia and caused a number of widespread infections during the 2014 winter outbreaks.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that cases of gastrointestinal diseases caused by this new strain of norovirus might see a likely increase of 50% as stated in their website.

"Every few years, a new strain of norovirus emerges and causes many illnesses. We don't know yet if this new strain will lead to an increase in the number of outbreaks reported, but it could," told Amy Saupe of Minnesota Health Department as quoted saying by Medical Daily.

In another note, recent norovirus outbreaks not linked to the new strain have been documented in other parts of the country earlier this month.

According to CBS News, an outbreak which sickened about 200 people in Seattle forced the temporary closure of Russell Investments Building. Also, a similar norovirus outbreak occurred at Chipotle's Cleveland Circle branch in Boston which affected dozens of college students.

Despite the rising number of outbreaks, health authorities say that norovirus is a preventable disease. The virus is usually transmitted from the feces of the infected person.

"If we're meticulous about washing our hands and handling food properly, we may be able to limit the impact," advised Saupe as mentioned by Food Poisoning Bulletin.

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