NMI warned of gastroenteritis epidemic


The public is being advised to take care due to an ongoing spread of norovirus-like gastroenteritis or stomach flu, a condition that stems from the inflammation of the stomach and intestines which usually result from bacterial toxins.

The health advisory was released by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Public Health/Hospital Emergency Preparedness program and Epidemiology Laboratory Capacity Programs last Friday after reports of diarrhea and vomiting in the CNMI community.

CHCC public information officer Samantha Birmingham-Babauta said there have been an increased number of diarrhea and vomiting cases on island.

“After getting test results back, we can confirm gastroenteritis is circulating on island.,” she added.

Medical studies show that norovirus is a highly contagious virus and symptoms develops 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to it. People usually get better within one to three days when infected with norovirus illness but the virus is believed to stay in your stool for two weeks or more after one is cured.

The following are signs and symptoms of the norovirus-like gastroenteritis: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache and body aches.

These symptoms of stomach flu are to be taken seriously as they can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses. It is important to maintain fluids while sick.

Symptoms of dehydration are decrease in urination, dry mouth and throat, dizziness when standing up and children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and are unusually sleepy or fussy.

There are no specific medicine or antibiotics that can treat people with norovirus-like illness. Keeping hydrated is the best cure to replace liquid lost from vomiting and diarrhea.

For more information about, visit https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/ or call the PHEP program at 235-8211 and report a notifiable disease, call CHCC at 234-8950.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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