Shelby County Health Department officials have confirmed cases of the gastrointestinal stomach bug known as the Norovirus is aggressively spreading through the county.
Four cases have been reported by the county since the start of the year.
MORE: Move over flu, make way for Norovirus
This new strain of the virus started in Australia, and is now causing concern in the United States.
Norovirus is easily transmitted by touching a contaminated surface as well as by direct contact or by eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminated with the virus. The virus is notoriously difficult to kill with normal cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Surfaces that have been contaminated with stool or vomit should be cleaned immediately and disinfected with a freshly prepared diluted bleach solution or a bleach-based household cleaner.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Some may have fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. The symptoms can begin suddenly and infected person may go from feeling well to very sick in a very short period of time. In most people, the illness lasts for one or two days. Those with Norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least three days after they recover and some may be contagious longer. Infection can be more severe in young children and the elderly. Dehydration can occur rapidly and may require medical treatment or hospitalization.
Prevention tips to stop the spread of Norovirus:
If individuals suspect an outbreak in an assisted living facility, school, workplace, etc., the SCHD recommends reporting it immediately by calling (901) 222-9000.