If you know someone reportng stomach problems, vomiting or diarrhea, tell them their misery has company. Kent County Health Department reports an increasing number of gastrointestinal illness complaints are being reported to local medical emergency departments.

The rate is rate that is higher (16.9%) than the four year average for this time of year (14.9%).

Communicable Disease staff at KCHD have sent an alert to food establishments regarding the health and hygiene of their food employees; to use proper cleaning procedures and reinforce proper protocol if someone on their staff or in their facility is ill.

If you work in the food service industry, in a cafeteria, or in a restaurant, and you are ill, stay home until you recover. The Michigan Food Code requires food employees to be symptom-free from diarrhea or vomiting for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to work.

Many of the complaints exhibit symptoms consistent with norovirus infection, a highly contagious, easily transmitted illness.

"If you or someone in your family is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, avoid contact with those who are not ill," said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. If possible, infected individuals should use one bathroom while uninfected individuals use another.