Norovirus May Have Already Spread To More Utah Communities

Sep 7, 2018, 7:13 PM | Updated: 7:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With the norovirus spreading in schools along the Wasatch Front, state epidemiologists said it reported cases may just be starting because the virus is so contagious.

Norovirus is common, but it has hit at an unusual time of year. Officials said there may be another reason Utah has experienced an outbreak right now.

“We see it every year,” said Cindy Burnett, an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health.

Burnett said the norovirus commonly causes outbreaks in nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships. It has been hard for health officials to know whether the norovirus outbreak was really intensifying in Utah, because it’s not an illness that doctors and schools report to the health department.

New norovirus strain possible in Utah

Burnett said once kids in school have it, it may already be more widespread in the community.

“It’s not unusual to see this virus,” said Burnett. “It is unusual to see it at this time of year. It’s also known as winter vomiting disease. It’s a virus that we typically see outbreaks of in the winter months.”

The virus could be adapting.

“It may be that there is a new strain of norovirus that is hitting Utah that people don’t have any immunity to,” she said. “So, that might be causing the outbreaks.”

Burnett said samples from patients were being tested to reveal whether this was a new strain.

“If there is a new strain in Utah, we will likely see more cases we go into the winter time,” said Burnett.

She said it was important to take steps to prevent it from spreading further.

“It is a really contagious virus, and it will spread quickly into the communities if people don’t take precautions,” she said, starting in schools.

Sick children should stay home from school

“It will spread very easily in schools,” she said. “So, we really want sick kid to be staying home until they’re not infectious anymore.”

Burnett said we don’t typically see a large public health response to norovirus outbreaks, like we see with the flu or hepatitis. That’s because there are no vaccines or medicines that help.

“The virus can live for a pretty long period of time on doorknobs, keyboards and things like that,” said Burnett. “So, when people have been out in public they should immediately wash their hands when they get home.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, norovirus is not a reportable disease unless there is an outbreak or cluster. The onset of symptoms is quick, and the duration is usually quick. Many people typically do not seek medical care. As a result, norovirus is frequently under-diagnosed.

Officials warn the public, if you’re not already washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, it’s time to start. Stay home if you’re sick. Don’t prepare food for people if you’re sick and for several days afterwards. Keep sick kids home from school.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Ormond Construction crews install secondary water meters in a subdivision in Woods Cross for the We...
Keira Farrimond and Dan Spindle, KSL TV

Metering Utah’s secondary water may help overuse in drought

During the driest months of the year, Utahns' yards can be a primary culprit for water overuse. But there's one thing some water districts are seeing make a big difference in how much customers use: secondary water meters.
1 day ago
FILE The views from Frey Peak in Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. (Larry D....
Carter Williams, Deseret News

‘Art is a good teacher’: New public exhibit draws attention to the drying Great Salt Lake

Jacob Brooks' latest painting is quite simple, so simple that his 3-year-old son can understand the message Brooks is trying to convey: trying to save the Great Salt Lake.
1 day ago
Intermountain Medical Center in Murray (KSL TV)...
Jed Boal

Researchers: Intermittent fasting provides protection against severe COVID-19

Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare have researched the health benefits of intermittent fasting for nearly a decade. Their latest discovery: intermittent fasting helps protect against severe COVID, but it is not a replacement for vaccination.
1 day ago
As monkeypox cases continue to rise globally, the World Health Organization plans to reassess wheth...
Jacqueline Howard, CNN

WHO to consider again whether monkeypox outbreak is public health emergency of international concern

As monkeypox cases continue to rise globally, the World Health Organization plans to reassess whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.
1 day ago
Posters at the Department of Health and Human Services offers advice on preventing and getting over...
Jed Boal

How community postvention tool kit helps communities after a suicide

How our communities respond after a suicide death matters and that's why the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition created an online tool kit to help.
2 days ago
A rattlesnake hiding off a trail in Snow Canyon. (Credit: Suzi Holt)...
Michael Houck

Utahns continue to rattle our inbox with snake tails

As the weather gets warmer, humans are not the only ones enjoying the summer heat; rattlesnakes are also out to get some sun.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah Voters 50+ Support Increased Access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Norovirus May Have Already Spread To More Utah Communities