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Sapovirus on Rise in Nursing Homes

Norovirus, more commonly known as the stomach bug, is a germ that can spread quickly through food, on surfaces, and person-to-person. It’s hallmark symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Now, new research has found that a close relative to the stomach bug, sapovirus, may be on the rise in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

According to an article on MSNBC.com, sapovirus was once considered a rare bug. But after a study of 2,000 gastrointestinal outbreaks in Oregon and Minnesota, researchers have found that sapovirus is one they need to study.

Sapovirus has the same symptoms as the stomach bug, but can also include fever. It also spreads person-to-person, on surfaces, and through food.

It has previously been considered a sporadic illness in children, but is now being found in large percents in long-term care centers. Although it last for a brief time in most people, children and the elderly as well as those with weakened immune systems often have a harder time fighting it. Saporvirus in the elderly can lead to hospitalization or death.

The best way to fight both norovirus and sapovirus: good hand hygiene, careful food preparation, and attention to environmental cleanliness.