HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) - Doctors have been urging people to get the flu shot because of the influenza outbreak, but there is a new virus that has caused more than 140 outbreaks in the U.S.
One researcher is calling it the " Ferrari of Viruses" for the speed at which it passes through a large group of people.
This new strain of the Norovirus, often mistakenly referred to as the " stomach flu", is highly contagious. The virus causes vomiting and diarrhea, sometimes for a few days.
This year, the Centers for Disease Control reports that the new strain of the stomach bug has taken over. The "Sydney" strain accounts for about 60% of Norovirus outbreaks.
It is when a new strain spreads that many people get so sick.
"Every few years, there is a new strain of Norovirus that cruises through the community, and we seem to have a new virus cruising through right now," said Dr. Jeff Dickey of Holyoke Medical Center.
"People build immunity to the Norovirus, but apparently the immunity is not sufficient enough because it's a new strain."
The Norovirus can be spread by food handlers, and also through the air. Unfortunately for those who catch it, there is really no medicine to treat the symptoms.
If you want to avoid contracting the virus, experts say to be vigilant in handwashing, disinfecting surfaces, and proper preparation of food.