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Originally Published by The New York Post

Stomach bugs are in bloom in the US. Also known as the stomach flu (though unrelated to influenza), the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness is typically caused by norovirus infection, prompting days of vomiting, diarrhea and fever in children and adults — which could even lead to death if not properly treated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans about widespread outbreaks across the country, including in all 14 states that participate in the CDC’s norovirus reporting program, NoroSTAT, agency spokesperson Kate Grusich told Today.com.

Between Aug. 1, 2022, and Jan. 8, 2023, the CDC recorded 225 norovirus outbreaks — a 31% increase from last year’s count of 172 during the same period. The stats are particularly concerning for our already stressed health care systems still reeling from the pandemic.

Annually, norovirus is behind some 20 million cases of vomiting and diarrhea, 109,000 hospitalizations and 900 deaths, the CDC has found — most of which occur between November and April as Americans spend more time indoors during cold weather.

Despite the increase, experts aren’t calling the new outbreaks a bona fide “surge” just yet. Grusich told Today the numbers are “within the expected range for this time of year.” Nevertheless, Americans would do well to heed a few added precautions to prevent a night spent hugging the toilet.

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infection prevention