2 more norovirus outbreaks reported in Montana

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Health officials in Montana confirmed two norovirus outbreaks in Billings, according to a Billings Gazette report. The number of norovirus cases across Montana is growing, with around 12 confirmed outbreaks since late September 2016.

Norovirus is a contagious virus that causes your stomach or intestines, or both, to become inflamed, leading to symptoms of stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the CDC.

Billings-based RiverStone Health's Director of Community Health Services Tamalee St. James told the Billings Gazette that the local outbreaks occurred at local long-term care facilities. RiverStone Health, which grew out of the Yellowstone City-County Health Department, includes medical and dental clinics as well as home care and hospice services.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services sent an advisory to healthcare agencies in the state noting that more than 250 people have been sickened by the virus since September and five people have been hospitalized. Currently, it is unclear how many people have been infected in the Billings outbreak, the report notes.

The virus can be spread via infected persons, contaminated food or water and by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC.

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