Nasty winter stomach bug rears its head across Connecticut - KCTV5

Nasty winter stomach bug rears its head across Connecticut

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Winter brings with it some nasty viruses, and one that's already coming around is a stomach virus, the norovirus.

Doctors at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford said they've seen an increase in patients coming into the emergency room with the norovirus.

Local doctors have made it clear this is not the flu. The norovirus has distinctly different symptoms from the flu.

"Symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea for several days," said Dr. Steven Wolfe, director of the Emergency department at Saint Francis Hospital. "It's highly contagious, [and is] the same virus that's affected cruise ships." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said about 21 million Americans get the virus every year.

"This time of year, we share plates of food and drink [and] that's not good," Wolfe said. 

The stomach bug comes in different forms.

"There's different strains. There's no vaccine for it, so it's kind of all the same thing, whether it's one strain or another," Wolfe said.

Doctors elsewhere have identified one strain as the Sydney strain, which originated in Australia and making its way through the United States. 

There are specific ways you can protect yourself from getting the flu: frequently washing your hands, not sharing cups and utensils and avoiding others who are sick.

Wolfe said for the average healthy person, the flu is not necessarily dangerous but does pose a danger to the very young and the elderly. 

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