Holiday season brings unwelcome gift of stomach flu

Norovirus outbreak

RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia Department of Health is urging residents to be diligent in personal hygiene practices this holiday season because the stomach flu has arrived as an unwelcome gift to the Commonwealth.

Health officials say after studying information collected from emergency departments and urgent care centers around the state, they're expecting an increase in Norovirus illness and outbreaks in the next few weeks.  Norovirus is commonly known as the "stomach flu," which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.  It's also highly contagious.

Health officials say it is important to take steps to limit the spread of the virus, including washing your hands often and with warm water, disinfect contaminated surfaces using bleach-based products, don't prepare food for others when sick and stay at home to prevent spreading the illness to others.

If you would like to know more about how to prevent the virus, visit

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