COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina health officials warn that January marks the rise of the stomach ailment known as norovirus.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping.
Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman Jim Beasley says that while the ailment is sometimes known as the stomach flu, it has nothing to do with influenza. Beasley says the norovirus is a gastrointestinal ailment, while the flu is a respiratory virus.
DHEC officials say the norovirus is spread by eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated, touching contaminated surfaces, or having direct contact with an afflicted person.
Since there is no vaccine, officials warn people to wash their hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before they prepare food.
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