MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota health officials are stressing hand hygiene to combat the outbreaks of norovirus – commonly called the stomach flu – that have been hitting the state recently.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), approximately 40 outbreaks of the norovirus illness have been reported since the beginning of November, occurring in a variety of environments including schools, restaurants, nursing homes and private gatherings.READ MORE: 5 St. Cloud Bank Employees Unharmed After Hourslong Hostage Ordeal; Ray Reco McNeary In Custody
While norovirus illness is commonly referred to as stomach flu, the illness is not the same as influenza, which is primarily a respiratory illness.
Health officials say prevention of the illness is simple in principle.
“People need to remember to wash their hands, thoroughly,” Dr. Kirk Smith, who heads the Foodborne Diseases Unit at MDH, said. “Wash your hands after using the toilet, before consuming food, and before preparing food for yourself or others. If everybody did that, we could prevent a majority of the illness caused by these viruses.”READ MORE: How Much Is A Mother's Work Worth?