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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Report details broad sweep of norovirus in Boston

By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff

The wave of gastrointesinal illness that swept Boston in recent months spawned 18 outbreaks in colleges, day care centers, and healthcare facilities, ranging from eight cases to 438, according to a report released today by the Boston Public Health Commission.

Disease trackers from the city confirmed that the illnesses were caused by norovirus, the same germ that ignited outbreaks across the nation this past winter.

Boston's sophisticated disease tracking system found that the number of patients showing up at emergency rooms complaining of gastrointestinal ailments was significantly higher from December 2006 through April 2007 than the comparable period a year earlier. Over a 19-week period, an average of 95 patients a day flocked to ERs with norovirus symptoms, compared with 78 a day the year before.

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