It's new and terrible to me.
Dr. Ray Baker
Dr. Ray Baker
"From all the recent media coverage one would think Norwalk virus was something new and terrible, but it's neither. One of the more common causes of viral gastroenteritis or the vomiting and diarrhea we sometimes call "stomach flu", Norwalk-like viruses have probably been with us a very long time. Because it's so small we were only able to identify it and the other common viruses that cause viral gastroenteritis since the early 1970's.
It is spread from the digestive tracts of infected humans via fecal contamination and oral ingestion, to other susceptible humans. Once in the bowel the virus infects the cells lining the small intestine. After a brief period of rapid viral replication within these cells, they are destroyed, allowing fluids and salts to leak from the body into the gut, causing viral-laden watery diarrhea.
Epidemics have been traced to oysters harvested from beds near sites of improper sewage disposal, contaminated sources of drinking water, fresh fruit and vegetables irrigated with contaminated water and infected food handlers. Water droplets containing virus or secretions on objects people touch, such as door handles can also spread the virus.
Following exposure to the virus, after an incubation period of one to three days, the infected person experiences fever, aches, headache, vomiting and diarrhea with cramps. In all but the very sick, or people with impaired immunity, the body mounts a successful immunological defense by producing a specific antibody and the sufferer recovers in 2 or 3 days. If vomiting is severe and protracted or if serious dehydration is suspected then intravenous replacement of electrolytes and fluids is necessary.
Although news media have recently been reporting epidemics of this terrible new virus, we should probably put it in perspective. It's neither new nor uncommon. As virus infections go, Norwalk-like virus infection, although inconvenient, uncomfortable and perhaps embarrassing, is not particularly serious. If we want to worry about our health we could choose scary, dangerous things - like smoking, excessive drinking or riding in cars."
LOL. Thanks Doc... Somehow it still seems worse than going for a nice car ride. And I thought I was tired of puke and poop a couple of weeks ago.