Skip to main content

'Stomach flu' invades Minnesota; officials urge people to wash hands frequently

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

It's been called one of the worst influenza seasons in Minnesota in years, and health officials are saying outbreaks of norovirus have also been hitting Minnesotans especially hard.

Approximately 40 norovirus outbreaks have been reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) since the beginning of November, the health department announced Monday. These outbreaks have occurred at restaurants, schools, nursing homes and private gatherings.

It's commonly referred to as the "stomach flu." Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, body aches, a general run-down feeling and a mild fever, MDH notes.

Norovirus is "very contagious" – about 20 million people get sick from the virus annually, most from close contact with an infected person or from food prepared by someone who has the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Norovirus is actually the most common food-related illness in Minnesota and cases tend to peak during the winter months, MDH said.

Dr. Kirk Smith, who heads the Foodborne Diseases Unit at the state department of health, says washing your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, before consuming food and before preparing food could prevent a majority of illnesses.

Smith says it's important to avoid preparing food commercially or for others while sick and for at least 72 hours after symptoms subside.

People typically get sick 24 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus and symptoms can last from one to three days. But people can continue to spread the virus for several days after feeling better.

Worst influenza outbreak in years

Norovirus or the stomach flu is not the same as influenza, which is primarily a respiratory illness.

This has been one of the worst years for influenza in Minnesota in at least the last four years, WCCO reports.

Since the start of the influenza season, two people under the age of 18 have died from the virus, MDH said last week, and the number of Minnesota schools reporting influenza outbreaks jumped from 19 to 203 in a week, causing some districts to cancel school before winter vacation.

A spokesman for Mayo Clinic told the Star Tribune they’ve already seen more flu patients than they did in the entire flu season a year ago.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.

image

Fatal crash under investigation on Hwy 62 in Mendota Heights

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash near Dodd Road.

Pixabay bike wheel

Driver strikes 5 bicyclists near Mapleton

The Sheriff's Office has indicated that those injured were children.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 3.13.52 PM

The former Bachelor Farmer space is sold in Minneapolis

A new restaurant is expected to open next year.

flooding on Interstate 90

Supercharged atmosphere causing more mega-rain events

There could be a mega-rain event Saturday-Sunday in Minnesota, Wisconsin and/or Iowa.

9Rhiw3Tw

Massive Burnsville landfill expansion nears final approvals

The City of Burnsville and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are accepting public feedback on the proposal.

Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 2.35.39 PM

Kyle Rittenhouse attorney to defend accused Apple River killer Nicolae Miu

The attorney who helped Kyle Rittenhouse be acquitted of all charges is defending the alleged Apple River mass stabber.

Screen Shot 2022-08-05 at 7.55.41 AM

Minneapolis police trying to ID pair in connection to fatal shooting

Police say the two people pictured are connected to the fatal shooting of Ivan Redday last month.

ambulance

17-year-old girl killed in southern Minnesota crash

The crash happened early Thursday morning near Lake Crystal.

Tim Gannon

Ex-Brooklyn Center police chief sues city over resignation

Tim Gannon alleges he was forced to resign following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

boat, boating, lake

Men injured after boat crash sends propeller spinning onto craft

The motor reportedly flew out of the water and severely injured two men on the boat.

Related