Deadly virus Omicron expands US health search

Image copyright NBC Image caption Investigators are looking into all the places Omicron was found in Florida

Federal health officials are expanding the search for a deadly virus that has killed more than a dozen people in the United States.

They will increase the number of medical experts searching for the virus in the United States by 200.

The deadly gastrointestinal illness, Oticinnum maculopathy (OBM), is spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

The outbreak began in November in South Florida.

Now, health officials say they will look for the virus in 42 more states.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in Britain says the symptoms of the disease, when detected, are severe and rapidly progressive and include bleeding. They include diarrhea, vomiting, fever and muscle pains.

So far, the infection has spread to 21 states and 10 counties in the United States.

The number of cases, the HPA says, is on track to exceed 200.

US officials are now looking for the disease in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Before the current outbreak, there were a couple of suspected cases. This new expansion may indicate the infection is spreading more quickly.

The US has already begun inspections of food to see if there is any possible contamination and has issued guidance to drinking water providers to try to reduce bacteria levels.

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