Recent news has been peppered with announcements of norovirus outbreaks in various areas of the country. 

Roughly 40 students at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., were taken to hospitals for treatment earlier this week after an outbreak of what authorities believe to be norovirus. CNN reports that this outbreak comes just one week after neighboring Princeton University announced a similar flare-up.

In an effort to protect the estimated 4,700 undergrads, 1,100 graduate students and 250 full time faculty members, the school's custodial services are taking necessary steps, including cleaning all residence hall restrooms and other areas. Rider officials are also working with health authorities to coordinate treatment information and inform neighboring institutions of the outbreak.

Norovirus is a highly contagious illness that is often called stomach flu or food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, but most of those affected begin to see signs of improvement within one to two days.

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According to the Quad-City Times, cases of norovirus have been confirmed all over the state. Health department officials have commented that norovirus is "clearly the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal virus in the community."

Most cases have been found in sports teams of young adults and is most dangerous for the very elderly and very young.

Because the illness spreads widely and quickly, officials encourage everyone to practice very thorough hand-cleaning hygiene as a preventative measure and stay home when sick. 

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WCVB-TV in Boston reports that hundreds, possibly thousands of poeple, are sick from norovirus, which seems to be making its way across New England. Experts recommend the best remedy for fighting the illness is proper hand hygiene. Also, although helpful, hand sanitizers will not prevent infection of norovirus.

If sick, remain home for at least 72 hours after the first signs of improvement.

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