HEALTH ALERT: Colorado county deals with norovirus outbreak

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MONTROSE COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - A Colorado county is dealing with a "norovirus-like" outbreak with a majority of the cases happening in an elementary school.

Montrose County Health and Human Services sent out a release to the public on Wednesday as they work to help control the outbreak that has reportedly increased in the past few weeks. Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread quickly in settings where people come in close contact with each other. Officials did not identify the elementary school where the majority of cases were reported.

“One of the most effective tools against spreading illness is washing your hands,” said Linda Vandehey, Montrose County Public Health nurse and communicable disease specialist. “While the exact cause of this outbreak is still unknown, at this time the best protection is proper hand washing and food preparation.”

According to the health department, most norovirus cases don't require medical care and may even go undiagnosed.

The health department provided the following information about the norovirus:

"Norovirus causes acute vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. While most people with norovirus get better within one to three days, the virus can make a person feel extremely ill with vomiting and diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults and people with other illnesses. Symptoms of dehydration include decreased urination, dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy. It is important that children with norovirus stay well- hydrated."

Montrose County is on the west side of the state between Grand Junction and Durango.

For more information from the CDC click here.