The Center for Disease Control is warning of a new viral strain dubbed the "vomiting virus" that is recording record levels of infection as doctors across the country try to combat the outbreak.
The new strain of the norovirus is a serious virus that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting with 58 percent of new infections found to stem from the new strand of the norovirus, according to a report from the CDC published Thursday.
"The new strain spread rapidly across the United States from September to December 2012. The proportion of reported outbreaks caused by this strain increased dramatically from 19 percent in September to 58 percent in December," Aron Hall, an epidemiologist at the CDC's Division of Viral Diseases, said in a statement.
Health officials explain that norovirus outbreaks usually start to occur around November and cases continue until April. The most concentrated number of cases happens between January and February.
Officials also detail that the norovirus usually mutates, producing a new strain every few years and that the current strain affecting thousands of people emerged in Australia in March.
"New norovirus strains often lead to more outbreaks but not always," Jan Vinjé, director of CaliciNet, the CDC's surveillance system for the norovirus, told Fox News.
Health statistics show that every year roughly 21 million people in the United States become infected. Of those people infected around 800 die with young children and the elderly individuals being at the greatest risk of coming down with the virus, according to the CDC.
More than half of all new cases of infected persons with the new strain were caused by the new strain spreading person to person, the CDC added.
Health officials explain that the best way to prevent from becoming infected with the virus is to avoid touching your face and to wash hands frequently throughout the day. It is also recommended to wash and prepare food thoroughly before consumption.