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Sullivan County health officials investigate norovirus-like illness in area

Wes Bunch • Feb 5, 2014 at 9:23 AM

KINGSPORT — Area health officials confirmed this week that state environmentalists have been investigating multiple cases of norovirus-like symptoms that have been reported recently by people in Kingsport.

Sullivan County Health Department Director Gary Mayes said both his department and the state are looking into reports of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in an effort to determine if those symptoms are the result of norovirus or another gastrointestinal illness.

“We are in the process of doing an epidemiologic investigation and we hope to have the information we need within a few days,” Mayes said. “We do not know with certainty if it is norovirus. It has the same clinical presentations and it is norovirus season and typically when that illness is spreading.”

Mayes said Friday afternoon that the investigation’s results are still pending.

The health department began investigating potential cases of norovirus, also known as gastroenteritis or stomach flu, last week after receiving a number of reports from local residents who had become extremely ill.

Most of those reports, Mayes said, originated from individuals who participated in birthday parties held the weekend of Jan. 17 at a Kingsport-area business.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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