Experts warn of epidemic levels of norovirus in New River Valley

Schools, nursing homes and child care facilities taking extra precaution

RADFORD, Va. – Health experts are warning people about close to epidemic levels of norovirus in the New River Valley.

Norovirus causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, typically for one to two days.

Since it spreads swiftly, they’re worried it could spread even further across Southwest Virginia.

Radford City Schools is one of many districts in the New River Valley that received a message from the health department last week alerting them to multiple norovirus outbreaks, enough to elevate to epidemic levels.

"It seemed to have hit our teachers more than anything, as we've seen a spike, especially yesterday," Radford City Schools Superintendent Rob Graham said.

Graham said they're not yet concerned with the number of student absences, but six Radford High School teachers called out sick Monday alone.

"Norovirus can spread like wildfire once it gets into a household or a facility," New River Health District epidemiologist Jason Deese said.

The health department is sounding the alarm after seeing outbreaks in nursing homes, schools and child care centers in the NRV. They're urging people to be extra cautious, wash their hands thoroughly, stay at home if they're sick and clean with products that contain chlorine.

Health experts said people should see a doctor if they have a high fever, they're dehydrated or their symptoms last longer than a couple days.

About the Author: