Knoxville (WVLT) - A new strain of norovirus is hitting some communities hard.
Norovirus is a very common virus, but a new strain is stronger, longer lasting and more contagious.
Major outbreaks have been reported nationwide this season, overwhelming nursing homes, colleges, prisons, elementary schools and cruise ships.
The CDC says at least 60 percent of the outbreaks last winter were of the new strain.
"The viruses simply get stronger in their ability to pass from person to person, and perhaps here that is what's happening," said Dr. Randy Pardue from Family Medicine.
The symptoms of norovirus are similar to that of a stomach virus. The CDC is trying to explain the surge in norovirus, not only in the U.S., but worldwide. It will issue a report with more details on this latest strain in the next few weeks.