GERMANTOWN, TN (abc24.com) - A nasty new stomach bug is making a lot of people sick in the Mid-South. One Germantown doctor saw more than a dozen people on Thursday with the new strain of the Norovirus; two of the patients had to be hospitalized. Doctors warn the virus is severe and can be deadly - and there's no vaccine for it.
The Norovirus is different than the standard flu because it's a gastrointestinal infection. Instead of headache and congestion, symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and a trip to the hospital.
Last week, Michael Castellaw had four liters of IV fluid pumped in his system. He was bed-ridden for three days. His father, Dr. Mark Castellaw, says the Norovirus is hitting the Mid-South hard. His office saw more than a dozen patients on Thursday. "We saw about 12 to 14 people with this," Dr. Castellaw says, "The main reason they came in is they couldn't keep anything down. We had to give them medication, we've had patients we had to give IV fluids to and some we had to send to the hospital because they were so ill."
There's no vaccine, but the owner of Benevere Pharmacy in Collierville, Brett Wright, says there is a way to minimize symptoms in order to avoid hospitalization from dehydration. Select pharmacies can turn anti-nausea pills into their own topical medication. "We make that topical gel that you would apply to your wrist," Wright explains, "the benefit there, being that if you're vomiting and sick you can't really take it orally, that helps manage those symptoms a lot more effectively."
Doctor Castellaw warns within a few hours one person with the virus can infect 14 people, and even after a patient is well, they're contagious for another three days. "We're seeing a peak of it," he says, "It doesn't seem like it's dying away yet."