Northern Mariana Islands put on alert after rise in norovirus cases

4:41 pm on 1 March 2024
Illustration of norovirus, a common cause of viral gastroenteritis.

Photo: AFP

Health authorities in the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas (CNMI) have identified an increase in norovirus activity recently and are advising residents in the CNMI to take precautions to stay healthy.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporaion (CHCC) said many viruses, including norovirus, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

People of all ages can get infected and sick with norovirus, which spreads very easily and quickly.

These viruses are easily spread through food, by person-to-person contact or through contaminated surfaces. Therefore, take caution if someone in your household is ill.

Norovirus infection is sometimes called the "stomach flu" or "stomach bug" but it is not related to influenza (flu), a respiratory viral illness that can cause fever, cough, chills, headache, muscle aches, runny nose and sore throat.

"You can get norovirus by accidentally getting tiny particles of feces (poop) or vomit in your mouth from an infected person," CHCC said in a state.

"Norovirus can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Symptoms usually last one to three days, with most individuals recovering without medical attention.

"However, norovirus infection can result in hospitalisation due to dehydration, especially in young children and the elderly."