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Flu outbreak 2013: A new stomach virus more potent, harder to kill

While the nation is on the lookout for the worst influenza strain to crash ashore in more than a decade, there is another potent and hard-to-kill stomach virus hunched in the tall weeds of American society and it can strike its prey easier than the flu bug.

It is called the norovirus, better known as the stomach virus. Given the name GII.4 Sydney because it is imported from Australia, the new norovirus, or stomach virus, is said to cause severe gastrointenstinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

“It’s nasty,” said Kennedy Health System’s chief medical officer Dr. David Condoluci, an infectious disease specialist. “Basically, you go through about 24 to 48 hours of hell.”

The illness is notorious for causing dehydration because its victims fail to replenish their body fluids quickly enough to replace the discharged liquids.

Condoluci says people have mistakingly called it the influenza virus, better known as the flu, which caused high fever, relentless coughing, body aches and respiratory complications.

Physicians said that the norovirus, which is currently wrecking havoc in some parts of New Jersey, according to the Jersey Star Ledger, is much easier to catch, harder to kill and packs a wallop on its victims. However, while it is not usually deadly, it can be for those with other medical complications, the very young and old, and also those with a compromised immune system.

Unlike influenza or other viruses that require ingesting hundreds or thousands of particles of the virus to get sick, the norovirus takes less than 20 norovirus particles to get hit with the illness.

“That’s a tiny amount. It’s like saying if you have a poison, if you take one picogram it will kill you. It’s just 18 viral particles, it’s like nothing,” Dr. David Kaufman, chief of infectious disease at South Jersey Healthcare. “The virus is very good at surviving in a whole bunch of environments, foods, surfaces, water. It’s a very transmissible disease,” Kaufman said. “It means it doesn’t take much, and it’s easy to catch.”

Medical practitioners implore the public to wash their hands very, very thoroughly. Also, if a person in your household comes down with the norovirus, it is very important that they use separate facilities to use the bathroom and wash, if possible. The norovirus comes out in massive doses in stool.

Thankfully, Condoluci said, that the norovirus doesn’t last as long as the flu, perhaps 24 to 48 hours, while Kaufman said the populace should be thankful that the virus is not more harmful.


  1. Noone needs to know my name on April 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I had it Thursday or at least sounds like i did, I woke up feeling horrible and had diarrhea i ended up taking pepto bismo cause i thought thats all i would need. i woke back up at 1 feeling nauseated and vomited the little bit of nothing that was in my stomach this continued till around midnight. My dad almost took me to the ER because i couldnt even keep water down so i was getting really dehydrated i can’t exactly remember what he said my fever was but it was pretty high. This thing is like hell i only had it for a day but it took all weekend to get my strength back and i still dont have my appetite back all the way its a horrible virus i just hope it doesnt go around very long..

  2. so sick... on April 7, 2013 at 8:13 am

    This is the worst ever! I started symptoms on wednesday after taking care if an ill child tuesday. Thursday into friday was the worst, I couldn’t keep a sip of water down. I havent been able to eat anything and still have symptoms. My whole body feels beat up by this virus and isn’t recovering easily. Even though I’m very careful when it comes to changing babies up after kids (gloves, scrubbing hands) I still caught this. It is hell and I would’t want anyone to catch this, be extra careful take extra time washing hands and cleaning hard surfaces.

  3. pbelfi on April 10, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I am just getting over this thing after two days of misery! I haven’t been sick in 20 years, and consider myself pretty healthy, but I wouldn’t wish this thing on anyone! The vomiting was so violent, that I broke a blood vessel in my eye from the straining. Thankfully I got to the point after about 6 or 7 hours where I could drink water to prevent dehydration.

  4. philbert on April 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    i got hit with it on Sunday morning around 12 AM. the vomiting and diarrhea was recurring about every half hour until 6 AM, but eventually stopped. It is now Thursday, and I still have the stomach cramps, fatigue and loss of appetite. I am hoping this will subside soon? Any medical experts out there?

  5. Leslie Brown on April 14, 2013 at 11:17 am

    okay, so omg i am 45 and have had 7 children, i would deliver them all again in one 24h period before i ever want this again! on my 15th hour of vomiting ever 10 minutes, my daughter who had it 2 days ago said to just buckle in, ride it out and she promised that even though death feels like it will surely come. It won’t.. Thank God

  6. Nick LovesJesus on April 14, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Yeah I got hit hard Thursday night with some kind of bacterial or viral infection. Not sure if it was nano virus because I wasn’t vomiting but I had dehydration, fever, body aches, severe stomach cramps,, nausea, delirious, the sweats, and intense pain in my temple area. It is now Sunday I feel better not completely 100 percent where I want to feel. My dad insisted on me going to urgent care. I felt that prayer to Jesus and natural remedies such as oil of oregano, plenty of fluids, bee propolis, ginger tea, elderberry syrup will do the job. And it did …still recooping.

  7. Kurt on April 15, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I get this every other month it seems… It’s terrible. Thanks a lot Australia! Just joking. Ehm… I have it now and I’m upset.

  8. glennardo on April 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    We thought it was food poisoning. Teenage son got it on Friday, then my wife and I picked it up on Sunday. This is a “long-rebound-bug”. Our son’s having a hard time kicking this one. Rest and lots of hydration.

    • Beth on June 9, 2013 at 11:43 am

      I thought it was food poisoning at first too, because I’ve had that and that’s no fun either, but this takes the prize.

  9. Cat2727 on April 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Indeed, this bug was one of the top two stomach bugs I have ever experienced. At one point, between the weakness, relentless nausea and vomiting, and the migraine, I was near to asking to go to the emergency room.

    Almost every member of our household got it, in spite of the constant hand washing. My daughter-in-law and I still tire easily with stomach sensitivity and digestive issues.

    It sounds as if others have had very similar experiences. I’m not glad that others have gone through this, but it is somewhat reassuring that the continuing weakness is not entirely uncommon.

    It does pack a wallop!

  10. sick sick sick on May 1, 2013 at 7:53 am

    It started Sunday night for me at 2am. Woke me in my sleep to run for the toilet I’m still not feeling 100%. This is a horrible virus my stomach pain was really intense at times and had a fever. All I wanted was sleep but couldn’t due to pain Or being woken up to get sick. Even thought a few days have passed I can only keep down toast, white rice, applesauce and salines in small amounts. This completely knocks you on your butt. For anyone who’s dealing with this feel better!

  11. ZmanInFl on May 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    its not in Jersey lone.. Its hit here in Florida, the whole fam has it..

    • MI Sick Too on May 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

      And in Michigan – same thing – it has run its course through our whole family in 5 days – picking off one at a time at 12 hour intervals… Those who had it on Saturday and Sunday are finally getting their strength back. Also heard it was making its way through the local elementary school.

  12. Beth on June 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I came down with it on Saturday, I have never been so sick in my life. It started with a little stomach cramp which continued to worsen, Pepto didn’t help it. The cramps were so bad at times I was doubled over with pain. Then the vomiting started, it was violent waves of the worse vomiting I have ever had which lasted 12 hours. I almost call 911, I felt like I was going to die. I had a fever with body sweats, I didn’t get diarrhea, but my stomach is still not settled so I might still get it. This virus is pure hell and there isn’t anything you can really do to help yourself or avoid it. Wash your hands a lot and wipe everything down with bleach. I pray I never get sick like that again and you don’t get it.

  13. miquel kustner on June 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Same here got the virus last thursday and I am recovering currently. High fever, stomach cramps, diarhee, I wouldn’t wish this to my worst enemy. Got medicine for the cramps and antibiotics. Now feeling almost a 100%.

    By the way I’m from Suriname/South America

  14. very ill on July 23, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I am in downtown Vancouver and I just woke up this morning at 6:00am with this bug. I too thought it was food poisoning, that’t how bad this was. After the diarrhea stopped around 11:00am-ish, the sore belly continued. Every time I stood up I felt significant pain. Laying down was the only way to ease the stomach pain. I had the chills and a fever that lasted about 6 hours. Clinic GP said its a bug for sure, can take 3 days to recover. I have eaten out every day this week as I am here on business, could have picked it up in any place.

  15. pick a name on July 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

    If you have it, take gradual sips of water or gatorade. eat small amounts of food, and take really hot showers so that you get water into your body without it going through the stomach

    • NJ sick&tired on July 25, 2013 at 7:18 am

      I came down with this on Sunday morning. Not fun in the least. Sitting on the toilet, sweating severly, throwing up in a waste can while feeling like you’re going to die. Almost felt like I was going to pass out a few times. Next day was a fever driven delirium. Rambling on about numbers and counting in multiple of tens. My wife was concerned and wanted to take me to the ER but I refused out of fear the ER was to far from the bathroom! It’s now Thursday and I still have the chills, cold sweats and cramps. My heart goes out to those people next in line to get this…

      • NJ on July 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        It’s here in Ma. I am on day 3. Started with vomiting, then the diarrhea, cramping, extreme fatigue. Just hydrating as much as possible. Starting to eat a little. My gut feels like it’s been beat up.

      • NJ on July 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

        It’s here in Ma. I am on day 3. Started with vomiting, then the diarrhea, cramping, extreme fatigue. Just hydrating as much as possible. Starting to eat a little. My gut feels like it’s been beat up.

  16. Mark Vann on August 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    A virus is so fantastically small, it will blow right through a car windshield. How much electricity do you think it would it take to kill something that small? Farmers in Bunbury Australia are curing the Ross River virus with electric fence current. Electrocleansing is patented in the US, and blood plasma centers clean viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens with small electrical current.

  17. Horrible on August 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    I just hit 48 hours with this bug. Thought I was going to DIE! I never get sick so to come down with chills and cold sweats… vomiting ect was horrible. I had to fight to stay hydrated but I feel well enough to eat crackers. Have not eaten in 2 days due to no appetite

  18. Winston Jordan on August 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    The water control people need to check the water system because the heavy rain fall has contaminated certain swimming area with the e coli virus that has the same symptoms as the nasty stomach virus that is spreading throughout the states. Could this stomach virus really be strands of the e coli virus? The same symptoms are the same and the here have been heavy rain fall that has cause certain swimming areas within Arkansas to be shut down. people from all over the states are getting sick. random thoughts