CHESAPEAKE, Va. — People in the Commonwealth and across the nation are experiencing a rise in outbreaks of norovirus.
The germ can cause major stomach problems for anyone infected. Doctors said this virus is very contagious.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows 14 states are reporting norovirus outbreaks.
“It just came out of nowhere and my whole body was just achy and tired," said Meghan McGann, a Suffolk resident recovering from norovirus.
McGann said she had norovirus last week.
“My boyfriend and I both got it at the same time. Me, about six hours before he got it and we were hanging out with his niece and she got sick; but not as sick. Her stomach had been a little bit upset, but she’s 2 so it could have been anything," said McGann.
The CDC’s Norovirus National Trends show an increase in cases and outbreaks higher than this time last year. According to the Virginia Department of Health, it's a common virus.
“We probably saw a peak of that virus activity somewhere around December, January and what we’re seeing now is that peak over the last couple of years is about January and February," said Virginia Beach Department of Public Health Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati.
Chesapeake Health Department's Epidemiologist Lisa Engle said symptoms of the norovirus include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and some people can experience a fever.
Engle said a major symptom to look out for is dehydration. Engle said there isn't an outbreak in Chesapeake right now.
“I do not have any right now that I know of and I'm very concerned that a lot of places aren't reporting these outbreaks," said Engle.
She said the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and keep surfaces clean.
“It’s not easily killed. For this bug, wipes don’t work. You have to use either one part bleach to 10 parts water or find a disinfectant that actually has been proven to kill norovirus," said Engle.
Health experts with the CDC said a norovirus outbreak can happen at any time and often occur between November to April.