Norovirus spreading rapidly among children in Central Texas, doctors say

(Photo/video: CBS Austin)

Healthcare professionals say the norovirus, an extremely contagious stomach bug, is spreading rapidly among school children in Central Texas.

Dr. Goddy Corpuz, a pediatrician at Baylor Scott & White in Cedar Park, says he's seen a spike in pediatric patients coming in with the norovirus over the last several weeks.

He says it mainly spreads in schools, cruise ships, and even healthcare facilities, like clinics and nursing homes.

Common symptoms include, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, and nausea -- but it can take 12 to 48 hours before seeing the signs.

"It used to be just confined to cruise ships, but now it's the number one cause of vomiting and diarrhea worldwide," Corpuz said. He says there are 19-21 million cases in the U.S.

The virus can cause dehydration, so he says it's important parents for parents to make sure their children are getting enough water and electrolytes to avoid intensifying the effects on the body, especially as temperatures become hotter.

Most importantly, he says good hygiene is the best line of defense for preventing the virus from spreading. People should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before consuming food.

He says the virus can thrive in temperatures up to 140 degrees.

"Wash your clothes throughly and especially use the longest setting in the washing machine for example," he said.

If you have the norovirus, it's best to stay home to keep it from spreading to others.

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