OKLAHOMA CITY - A local hospital is warning about the potentially dangerous norovirus which has started to spread throughout the United States. 

This is the same virus that triggered a military deployment in South Korea after 1,200 security staffers working the Winter Olympics became ill. 

The information was recently posted to St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital's Facebook page.

The post states norovirus is highly contagious, and it spreads quickly in crowded areas such as schools, cruise ships, nursing homes and workplaces. 

Thorough hand washing and disinfecting contaminated surfaces can help reduce the risk for contracting the virus.

"Often referred to as the stomach flu, the virus is actually not related to influenza at all, but it should still be taken seriously," the post said in part.

Some of the symptoms include: 

  • Nausea and vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • Fever and chills
  • Sore muscles
  • Migraines 
  • Stomach cramps

This highly contagious infection spreads quickly through contact with an infected person. However, it typically strikes a population first via fecal contaminated food or water sources.

Nearly 500 cases have been reported this seasonal year in the U.S. That's slightly above the range reported during the same period over the past seven years.