United States: Now, Lancaster County of Pennsylvania is going through a wave of Norovirus, also called stomach flu, after doctors reported several cases where the Northeast US is already under its grip.

Rising cases leading to more Norovirus tests

The three-week average for positive norovirus tests in the Northeast was 16.2 percent as of February 24, marking a sharp contrast to the 4.2 percent seen in late September and early October- the period when positive test results were at their lowest in 2023- as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

Moreover, the latest figures also surpass April 2023’s highest number by 16 percent.

The total number of positive cases and further tests are not available immediately. However, the positivity rate in the Northeast portion of the US has the highest count in the country.

Moreover, as per the CDC statement and local doctors of the state, the increase in cases is considerable, and a further significant jump is expected this time of the year, as ancasteronline.com reported.

More about the Norovirus

As per the CDC website’s statement, the most common symptoms of Norovirus – vomiting and diarrhea – which are often called as stomach flu or stomach bugs.

The concerning factor about keeping track of the disease is that, the state Department of Health doesn’t keep a track of cases, therefore make it difficult to measure the exact numbers in Lancaster County.

However, anecdotally, the disease cases have been increasing in the area.

Dr. Amit Gangoli, a highly experienced infectious disease physician at Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center in East Hempfield Township and who also practices at other central Pennsylvania locations, has observed the increase, as ancasteronline.com reported.

Gangoli, with his extensive knowledge and experience, noted a spike in hospitalized patients with Norovirus. He said some patients were admitted because of dehydration from Norovirus, while others were admitted as a result of another condition and later developed norovirus symptoms.

Cases are concurrent to past years’ levels

However, it is worth mentioning that the current year’s levels are not way worse than those of past years.

Mr. Gangoli said that the current year’s levels are very close to that of 2022 and 2023 across the Northeast.

Furthermore, he was reinforcing that Norovirus is associated with this particular season of the year. This is a seasonal virus, as Gangoli put it, with cases peaking between November and April, when temperatures are cold and people gather indoors for a very long time – these are normal occurrences.

Healthcare providers ready for the increased cases

Raghav Tirupathi, the medical director of infectious diseases at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, found there are existing cases of Norovirus in the emergency room, and an overall increase in patients with the attacks people called stomach flu or stomach bugs.

He added it’s an expected trend during this time of year, and the medical community is well-prepared to handle it.

A CDC spokesperson made a statement – “Currently, norovirus outbreak activity in the United States is within the range we would expect for this time of year and is within the range reported during the same time periods in previous years,” as lancasteronline.com reported.

Additionally, Dr. John D. Goldman, an infectious disease specialist at UPMC, said that most people with Norovirus do not end up in hospitals or intensive care units. He added, he hasn’t witnessed any patient hospitalized due to the virus in UPMC hospitals.

However, Goldman has encountered several people who have had a gastrointestinal illnesses, for whom he assumed that some may be other viruses and the others are Norovirus, he added.

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