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Stomach flu outbreaks reported in Addison, Rutland, Franklin counties

— Vermont health officials are weighing the risks of other outbreaks of a powerful 48-hour stomach flu that just occurred on the Middlebury College campus.

On the heels of the campus outbreak, several reports of norovirus have been noted elsewhere in Addison County and in Franklin County by the Vermont Health Department. Teachers of several schools in Rutland County have also reported outbreaks.

Norovirus outbreaks are often linked to food or water, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Symptoms of flu include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Suffers are

advised to drink water as the effects of the virus can cause

dehydration. The norovirus, sometimes referred to as the Norwalk Agent, is a RNA virus.

The "bug" is linked to 90 percent of epidemic outbreaks of nonbacterial gastroenteritis in the U.S.

The norovirus, according to the CDC’s website, "is typically transmitted by fecal-contaminated food or water, by person-to-person contact, and airborne contamination of surfaces."

Bradley Tompkins of the Vermont Health Department, advised residents to take precautions.

"This occurs every year. We have reports of several outbreaks in institutional settings across Vermont," he said.

Tompkins said frequent hand washing helps to reduce the spread of the virus.

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