December 6, 2023
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What is the Norovirus and Why is it a Case of Concern?

Several viral infections are currently showing signs of emergence; some of them are essentially a revival of an earlier virus, like norovirus and adenovirus. Although the norovirus is not new, recent months have seen an increase in infections.

The norovirus, a gastroenteritis infection, has been linked to two cases of class 1 kids in the Ernakulam district, according to the Kerala Health Department on January 24. Following the development of symptoms like diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, nausea, a high temperature, headache, and body pains in 62 people—students and their parents—the two samples were analysed.

What is Norovirus?

The norovirus, which has been around in humans for more than 50 years and is believed to be one of the main causes of gastroenteritis, is not a recent disease. According to estimates, the virus kills 200,000 people year around the world, with the majority of these deaths occurring in children under the age of five and seniors over the age of 65.

It is commonly referred to as “winter vomiting disease” since the virus can survive in colder climates and outbreaks tend to occur more frequently in the winter. Because of inadequate surveillance during the pandemic, the number of norovirus cases reported in the UK had decreased, but it has recently increased.  A 48% higher incidence of reported cases than expected was reported by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in 2022.

What are the Symptoms and How to Prevent it?

Diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain are symptoms of norovirus. Being a diarrheal disease, it might cause dehydration, hence it is advised to drink lots of fluids.

The virus can be spread by contaminated food, touching contaminated surfaces and then contacting the mouth, and direct contact with an infected person, such as when you are caring for them or sharing food and utensils with them.

The greatest approach to avoid illness is to practise good hand hygiene. Spend 20 seconds washing your hands with soap and water. It is believed that hand sanitizers don’t effectively combat norovirus.

Although doctors may give antibiotics if there is a suspicion of a bacterial infection as well, the symptoms typically go away on their own. The medications work on other secondary infections rather than the virus. Preventing dehydration is an important component of the treatment.

To prevent significant consequences, one must restore lost fluids and electrolytes as quickly as possible if there are any signs of dehydration, such as weakness or dizziness. A doctor should be consulted, lots of rest should be obtained, and action should be taken if there are any signs of dehydration.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright


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