Vanderbilt sees hundreds with ‘scary, nasty’ norovirus

Vanderbilt sees hundreds with 'scary, nasty' norovirus (Image 1)

A stomach virus called “nasty” by doctors and “scary” by patient's families has been seen for months now in Tennessee.

The virus, called norovirus,  causes severe vomiting and diarrhea for days, however the illness is sometimes mistaken for the flu.

Julie and Shannon Malone suddenly saw those gut-wrenching symptoms Wednesday in their 13-year-son Tanner at the couple's DeKalb County home.

In the wee hours Friday morning after seeing their local doctor, Tanner was in an ambulance racing toward Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center after he had a 106 degree temperature.

“He's feeling better now,” Julie told Nashville's News 2 later Friday morning.

The vomiting and diarrhea Tanner left severely dehydrated, but he was able to smile some late Friday morning while receiving fluids intravenously.

“We have actually seen this virus, or symptoms caused by this virus for several months now,” said Dr. Abby Williams, the pediatric emergency medicine physician, who saw the DeKalb County youngster with the Norovirus symptoms. “And we have seen hundreds of patients with these symptoms.”

Dr. Williams said norovirus “can be associated with headaches, body aches, fevers and the treatment for it is just pushing dehydration, pushing fluids.”

She added that “small amounts of water in frequents” is the best treatment for victims who can be most any age, but young children and elderly are most susceptible.

The virus is also considered highly contagious so doctors are urging those around potential victims to take several precautions.

Frequent hand washing for at least a minute with soap and water, along with wiping down of surfaces you might touch with bleach or disinfectant wipes is also recommended.

“We have washed hands dramatically, bleached, Lysol-ed and so far so good with us, but who knows, we have been right under him,” said Julie Malone who hasn't let Tanner's side in three days.

For more information on norovirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control's Web site.

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