Cases of a nasty stomach bug known as norovirus have spiked in recent weeks across several southern U.S. states, including Maryland, according to recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Often called the "stomach flu" or gastroenteritis, anyone can become infected or sick with norovirus, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Norovirus is often spread through direct contact with an infected person, eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with the virus, or touching contaminated surfaces, health officials said. It also spreads through the feces and vomit of an infected person.

According to CDC data published Feb. 22, the three-week average for positive norovirus tests in the South region, which includes Virginia, climbed to almost 9.6 percent in recent weeks and has remained above 7 percent since the middle of December 2o23.... Read More: Pikesville Patch