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Novo-virus sickens dozens in Madison area

The novo-virus is hitting the Madison area a lot harder than normal. The Wisconsin State Journal says five outbreaks of the food-borne disease have taken place since last November.

Dane County health officials are still waiting for test results from the most recent outbreak. It took place Jan. 29 when at least 16 people had vomiting and diarrhea after eating sandwiches and other food at the Mandrake Road Church of Christ in Madison.

Also last month, 28 people got sick after eating at Erin's Snug Irish Pub in Madison. The other outbreaks took place at a drama-filming session at Madison West High School, the Pyle Center at U W Madison, and a Madison art show.

Health department epidemiologist Amanda Kita-Yarbro says the five outbreaks in a three-month period are a first for her agency. She said it could have been spurred either by food workers or people attending the various events.

There have also been novo-virus outbreaks at five nursing homes and an assisted living facility in the Madison area, but Kita-Yarbro says those are not unusual.

The novo-virus is spread by infected feces and by people touching surfaces that have been contaminated. Symptoms include vomiting and/or diarrhea within one or two days after being exposed.

Patients also report getting fatigue, head and muscle aches, cramps, and small fevers. Kita-Yarbro says the best way to prevent the novo-virus is for people to wash their hands often.