Wyoming Department of Health officials are reporting an increase in stomach-related illnesses collectively known as viral gastroenteritis.

According to a Friday-afternoon release from the WDH, increases in illnesses have been especially large in Laramie County as well as the northern part of the state, including Sheridan and Park counties.

Matt Peterson, WDH surveillance epidemiologist, says more cases relates to school and restaurant settings are especially being seen in the state. He says symptoms typically include vomiting, nausea, chills, and diarrhea.

“We are encouraging anyone with these symptoms to stay home from work or school and from social events such as graduation parties and weddings until 48 hours have passed since their last bout of vomiting or diarrhea,” Peterson said.

The release goes on to say

Commonly described as “stomach flu” or “food poisoning,” gastroenteritis can spread easily when people eat or drink contaminated food and beverages, touch contaminated surfaces or through close contact with someone already sick.

Contamination is almost always not obvious. “We’re usually talking about extremely tiny amounts of poop or vomit we can’t see,” Peterson said

Gastroenteritis can be caused by rotaviruses, noroviruses, adenoviruses, sapoviruses, and astroviruses, along with some bacteria (such as E. coli and salmonella). Noroviruses are most common.

People are being urged to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly and to stay home from work or school if they are sick.

The very young, people with compromised immune systems, and the disabled or elderly are especially vulnerable and may need to see a doctor if they are infected. The biggest risk with the viruses is dehydration, so people who are sick need to drink plenty of fluids.

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