Virus has many locals sick - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Virus has many locals sick

KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Norovirus comes around every year and has it's peak months during February and March. It can easily be passed from person to person through touching common objects like doorknobs and then one's face.

People are talking about it a little more this year because of an outbreak last month at the RadCon Convention in Pasco and also earlier at a cheerleader competition in Western Washington. Health officials can't be sure if the numbers are higher locally this year than others because it's not a reportable illness. Unless there's a concentrated outbreak it won't get reviewed. Amy Person of the Benton Franklin Health District explained to KNDU why it's hard to track the virus.

"Hospitals or doctors or laboratories are not required to report individual cases of it. If we receive reports of several cases of it occurring in the same place we will investigate," said Person.

Health officials say the best way to keep from getting the virus is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. The virus does spread quickly but passes within a few days.  

KNDU was told by someone at Kennewick General Hospital ER that they've been seeing about ten people a day with symptoms that fit the virus, like upset stomach and being very dehydrated.