State Reports High Number of Stomach Flu Outbreaks

By Beacon Staff

HELENA — State health officials say there have been an unusually high number of outbreaks of gastroenteritis in Montana this year.

The Department of Public Health & Human Services says 20 outbreaks have sickened nearly 500 people throughout the state, most in assisted living and nursing homes. The 20 outbreaks is more than twice the number usually reported by late April.

Symptoms of gastroenteritis — commonly referred to as the stomach flu — include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Most individuals recover in one to three days. People who are ill should not prepare food for others.

Noroviruses are the most common of the viruses that cause gastroenteritis. A person can become ill by ingesting the virus from contaminated food or water or by close contact with someone who is ill.

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