SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Across the United States, norovirus cases are slightly higher than last year but what does that mean for us locally?

While we did see a spike a few weeks ago, norovirus cases in Massachusetts is actually down. Norovirus is a stomach flu with symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. It can be fairly contagious because it only takes a few particles. It can go from person to person and live on surfaces or food.

Doctor Armando Paez is the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Medical Center. He said prevention can be challenging with norovirus in the household or congregate settings but if you get it, there are steps you can take to prevent it from giving it to others.

“Wash your hands and cook your food well. Those are the important preventative measures,” said Dr. Paez.

Norovirus is fairly common for this time of year. On average in the United States, there are 20 million cases per year and 900 deaths, most of those are people 65 and older.