The highly contagious stomach illness that typically turns up in each fall is circulating in New York City, the Health Department reported November7. According to the department’s surveillance system, visits to the city’s emergency departments for vomiting and diarrhea have increased 19 percent in the past two weeks, to about 400 per day.

The illnesses have been attributed to norovirus, often called ‘stomach flu’ but unrelated to influenza. The virus becomes more prevalent in the late fall and winter. Norovirus infections are usually not serious and most people get better within a few days. People with norovirus generally experience vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include nausea, stomach cramping, fever, chills, aches and tiredness.

New Yorkers can take basic steps to prevent the illness, such as washing hands thoroughly and regularly. Go to for more information.