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Local doctor researching norovirus vaccine

Updated: Friday, January 31 2014, 06:42 AM EST

Rochester, N.Y. -- The bug that very likely sickened 600 passengers and crew members on a cruise ship is getting a closer look by a local doctor.

The ship returned to port in Galveston, Texas early Wednesday because so many people were ill with the stomach bug. Health experts have not yet confirmed, but it's suspected to be norovirus.

Dr. John Treanor is a professor of medicine at UR Medicine and said the vaccine is still in the early stages. He said this vaccine would be the world's first against norovirus.

Dr. Treanor said norovirus is the most common cause of gastrointestinal illness in the United States.

He said those who are going on a cruise or joining the military would greatly benefit from the vaccine.

Test results have not yet confirmed if passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean were infected with norovirus, but Dr. Treanor said he's certain that's what caused the outbreak.

"Noroviruses are really contagious,” said Dr. Treanor. “Estimates are that each person with a norovirus illness can infect three or more other persons, and that's why norovirus outbreaks tend to be very explosive with a rapid increase in the number of cases."

Dr. Treanor also said hand sanitizers with alcohol are not as effective for getting rid of the virus, and said soap and water are your best bet.

Local doctor researching norovirus vaccine


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