Rochester, N.Y. - Susie Kopitzki describes her terrible encounter with the Norovirus over a week ago.
“I like to call it violent because it just runs through you, it's uncomfortable and aggressive,” Kopitzki said.
Kopitzki also fought the virus almost two years ago; something Chief of Infectious Disease at the University of Rochester Medical Center, John Treanor says is not uncommon.
“This new strain, the Sydney strain is just a slight variant of the old virus,” Dr. Treanor said. “Even if you had the old strain, you're not immune to this new strain.”
Unlike the flu, which is a respiratory virus, spread through coughing and sneezing; Norovirus causes vomiting and diarrhea.
Norovirus is also a common cause for food borne illnesses.
“Norovirus is spread by fecal, oral root, and then they're picked up on the hands or the food or the water of a susceptible person and ingested through the mouth,” Dr. Treanor said.
A person can easily pick up the virus from surfaces and little can be done once you have it.
You're highly contagious on the first day and you're usually over it in about two to three days.
The URMC is hoping to prevent those sick days with a new vaccine.
“We've found that it's very safe, no one has had any serious side effects and it generates a lot of antibodies so the immune response has been quite good,” Dr. Treanor said.
URMC is one of five research hospitals testing for a vaccine.
It's still not known if that research will turn into protection against the virus, but Dr. Treanor said it does look promising.
If a vaccine was made and approved by the FDA, it would take several years for it to be made available to the public.
Doctors say the best thing you can do right now to decrease your chance of picking up the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water because hand sanitizer won't cut.