#1 Norovirus: Empowering Our Communities with Positive Solutions to Curb Outbreaks

Introduction to Norovirus

Norovirus, sometimes referred to as the stomach flu, is a highly contagious virus that has resurfaced, hitting a seasonal high according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Seasonal High in Norovirus Cases

The rate of norovirus tests coming back positive, averaged over three weeks, has exceeded 15% at the end of last week – the highest recorded since late March 2022. The Midwest has been the hardest hit, with the highest average test positivity rate for the virus at over 19% – higher than any other week in the last year.

Symptoms and Spread

The virus causes gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Mild fever and aches are also possible. Just a few virus particles are enough to make someone sick, and they spread easily via hands, surfaces, food and water. An infected person can transmit the virus for days after they feel better, potentially even up to two weeks, as per the CDC.

Regional Breakdown of Outbreaks

Food can become contaminated if fruits or vegetables are grown or washed with contaminated water. Oysters also pose a the virus risk if they are harvested from contaminated water. In December 2022, a multistate outbreak was linked to raw oysters from Texas, with nearly 300 norovirus cases reported.

Most norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. occur between November and April, with around 20 million cases per year, leading to nearly 110,000 hospitalizations and 900 deaths, mostly among those 65 years and older.

Prevention Measures

The CDC recommends drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration, as there is no treatment for norovirus. The illness typically resolves within a few days. National surveillance data shows laboratory reports of the virus are 66% higher than the average at this time of year, with the biggest increase in laboratory confirmed norovirus seen in the group of those aged 65 years and over. These levels haven’t been seen in over a decade.

Recommended Prevention Measures

(new24hour) / youtube.com

In response to the increase in cases, the UKHSA is reminding the public of the actions they can take to reduce the spread of norovirus. Good hand hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of norovirus. Most people will make a full recovery within 2 to 3 days, but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially for the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems who are more at risk.

High Number of Norovirus Outbreaks in Hospitals and Care Homes

The number of outbreaks caused by norovirus have increased in hospitals, schools and care homes, with the majority of outbreaks reported in care home settings.

Increased Cases Among the Elderly

To reduce the spread of the virus, individuals should stay at home if they are experiencing norovirus symptoms and not return to work or send children to school until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. People should also avoid visiting elderly or poorly relatives, particularly if they are in hospital or a care home.

Importance of Good Hand Hygiene in Preventing Norovirus

Regular hand washing with soap and warm water, especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food, is crucial. Alcohol gels don’t kill the virus.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts.

    In conclusion, norovirus is highly infectious and easily spread through contact with someone with the infection or contaminated surfaces. The public is advised to take the necessary precautions, such as regular hand washing, to reduce the spread of the virus. Most people will recover from the illness within 2 to 3 days but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially for those with weakened immune systems. If you are experiencing norovirus symptoms, it is best to stay at home and self-treat, rather than putting others at risk.

    Read our next article:

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *