News article from Rebecca Trylch at ABC12

MID MICHIGAN (WJRT) – (12/22/06)–It’s a disease that brings on many flu-like symptoms, but can be far more painful. It is the Norovirus, also known as the Norwalk Virus.

Late this week, more than 50 residents at a nursing home in Eaton County’s Delta Township came down with what is believed to be the Norovirus.

In that county alone, it’s the third suspected outbreak of the virus in just one month. The virus has also hit Mid Michigan in the last few months.

Earlier this month, the virus showed up in Isabella County. And back in September it was discovered in Frankenmuth, where more than 20 people came down with the virus.

Doctors say the virus is actually a stomach flu that can be extremely painful. It’s also hard to diagnose. The reason? The Norovirus and the regular flu have similar symptoms.

Symptoms for the Norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps and nausea. But doctors say there is one key difference.

Fever can occur in both, but with the stomach flu it’s more gastrointestinal. With influenza, it’s more respiratory.

Doctors say you can get the virus by touching an infected surface, object or person, then touching your mouth. And the Norovirus usually lasts only one to two days, whereas the flu could last longer.