It is called the norovirus, better known as the stomach virus. Given the name GII.4 Sydney because it is imported from Australia, the new norovirus, or stomach virus, is said to cause severe gastrointenstinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
“It’s nasty,” said Kennedy Health System’s chief medical officer Dr. David Condoluci, an infectious disease specialist. “Basically, you go through about 24 to 48 hours of hell.”
The illness is notorious for causing dehydration because its victims fail to replenish their body fluids quickly enough to replace the discharged liquids.
Condoluci says people have mistakingly called it the influenza virus, better known as the flu
, which caused high fever, relentless coughing, body aches and respiratory complications.
Physicians said that the norovirus, which is currently wrecking havoc in some parts of New Jersey, according to the Jersey Star Ledger
, is much easier to catch, harder to kill and packs a wallop on its victims. However, while it is not usually deadly, it can be for those with other medical complications, the very young and old, and also those with a compromised immune system.
Unlike influenza or other viruses that require ingesting hundreds or thousands of particles of the virus to get sick, the norovirus takes less than 20 norovirus particles to get hit with the illness.
“That’s a tiny amount. It’s like saying if you have a poison, if you take one picogram it will kill you. It’s just 18 viral particles, it’s like nothing,” Dr. David Kaufman, chief of infectious disease at South Jersey Healthcare. “The virus is very good at surviving in a whole bunch of environments, foods, surfaces, water. It’s a very transmissible disease,” Kaufman said. “It means it doesn’t take much, and it’s easy to catch.”