The norovirus continues to spread in the Chicago area.

CHICAGO (AP/WBBM) – It’s not as publicized, or as potentially serious as the swine flu that struck last year, but the Chicago area is being hit this fall by outbreaks of norovirus – the culprit behind most cases of what is often called “stomach flu.”

The McHenry County Department of Health says norovirus is suspected after 129 people became ill in three long-term care facilities. Fourteen of those cases have been confirmed and five people have been hospitalized.

And authorities say norovirus has already struck dozens of schools in Chicago’s southern suburbs.

Amy Poore of the Cook County Department of Health says a total of 59 suburban schools have reported the bug.

The Will County Department of Public Health hasn’t seen any clusters yet but remains on alert.

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis in people. The most common symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Norovirus is the official genus name for the group of viruses previously described as “Norwalk-like viruses”.

Norovirus Q&A with the CDC HERE

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