RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Department of Health says statewide surveillance data show that the stomach flu is arriving just in time for the holidays.
Officials say based on information collected from emergency departments and urgent care centers, an increase in norovirus illness and outbreaks is expected over the next few weeks.
Norovirus is commonly referred to as the "stomach flu." The highly contagious gastrointestinal virus causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
Officials say while it can cause a great deal of discomfort, the illness usually goes away on its own. But they say it is important to take steps to limit the spread of the virus.
The illness typically increases during the winter months. Last season, state health officials investigated 184 norovirus outbreaks statewide.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.