By Brooks Day
Posted 10:00 AM Feb. 25, 2010
South Carolina is being hit by the norovirus and health officials say they have already seen a high number of cases reported.
DHEC spokesperson Thom Berry says the virus has always been around, but this year the virus is spreading rapidly.
"Last year we saw about 30 outbreaks. Since January we've already seen that number," said Berry.
Berry says there is no specific reason yet for the increase in the number of cases so far.
The norovirus is a group of viruses that cause the stomach flu or gastroenteritis in people. Some of the symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. Some people may see signs of a low fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a sense of tiredness.
USC student Mark Stroupe says he had most of the symptoms.
"I felt awful. I had a fever of 104 and was throwing up. I couldn't do anything," said Stroupe.
People who come in contact with the virus may have gotten it from eating or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus, touching surfaces, or having direct contact with somebody who already has the virus.
Stroupes roomate Alex Garmezy says he and his roomates took precautions to keep from getting sick.
"We Lysoled everything he touched including, the remote, counters, and the microwave buttons," said Garmezy.
USC's Health Center PR Coordinator Nicole Carrico says the virus hasn't started spreading around USC yet, but she suggest ways to avoid coming in contact with the virus.
"You need to practice good hygiene and wash your hands after touching any surface that someone else may have touched. The virus is transmitted by fecal matter," said Carrico.
Officials say most people feel better after one to two days. If the symptoms of the virus persist you should go see your doctor.
Here is a list of tips to avoid coming in contact with the norovirus: