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Norovirus newest threat amid bad flu season

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Jan 27 2013 12:26:11 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 27 2013 01:28:50 AM CST

The flu started slowing down in parts of the U.S. but doctors said there is a new threat to take just as seriously.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

The flu started slowing down in parts of the U.S. but doctors said there is a new threat to take just as seriously.

Dr. John Torres with Premier Urgent Care said its a new strand of the Norovirus. The Norovirus comes around every season so Torres said most people's bodies aren't as susceptible to it. However, this year, a new strand arrived in the U.S. from Australia.  It's spread across the U.S. and Torres said he's seen cases in Colorado Springs.

"With the flu you're going to get severe body aches, high fevers. With the Norovirus you might not get those, but you'll get a lot of gastroinestinal, throwing up symptoms. It's more what people would consider the stomach flu," said Torres.

Sabrina Bayles said she thinks she had the norovirus.

"It's pretty contagious and I felt pretty bad for about two days," said Bayles.

The Norovirus is easier to catch because it takes a smaller dose of exposure to the virus to get sick than the flu. It can also live on surfaces for 12 days, while the flu can only live on a surface for eight to 10 hours.

Cases of the flu started to slow down on the east coast and in the south. Torres said it will start to slow down in Colorado shortly. He still recommends people get a a flu shot.

"The peak really isn't going to happen until February is usually when it happens," said Torres. "Even though the peak happens, there are still going to be cases through March and maybe even April."

Eric Lichea said he gets a flu shot every year; he doesn't want to take any chances.

"I'm a teacher so I'm around germs all day.  It's important to have a flu shot," said Lichea.

But Kaylinda Bunnell disagreed.

"I have never gotten a flu shot so I've never really had the true flu. I hope I don't jinx myself," said Bunnell. "It just doesn't seem reasonable to me."

Bunnell said people at her work have been sick recently. She said she's good about cleaning off surfaces with disinfectants and washing her hands.

Torres said his clinic usually has 20 to 30 flu shots left over at the end of each season that go to waste. His clinic is already out of its flu shot supply.

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