A new strain of norovirus has been spotted in Minnesota. The strain, named GII.17 Kawasaki, was first isolated in Asia in 2014. It has since arrived in the United States, causing occasional illnesses in Minnesota until September, when the strain began causing larger outbreaks. The Minnesota Department of Health has reported that GII.17 Kawasaki has been the cause of more than 20 outbreaks in the state. The discovery of a new strain of norovirus is not an uncommon event, as new strains are identified every few years.
Norovirus is a virus that causes illness in humans. It is a very common source of illness, and infects 19-21 million people per year in the United States. It usually occurs after contact with contaminated food, water, or people. Symptoms of a norovirus infection will appear between 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the pathogen and will include stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Norovirus is a very contagious pathogen. Those infected with the virus should be wary of going out into public. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of norovirus poisoning, contact a medical professional.