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The number of cases of Norovirus sickness is increasing; Here are the essential details you should be aware of.
Science & Health

The number of cases of Norovirus sickness is increasing; Here are the essential details you should be aware of.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated on Thursday that incidents of norovirus, an easily transmissible and unpleasant stomach illness, are increasing in the Northeastern region of the United States.

According to the agency, the CDC received positive results for approximately 12% of the most recent norovirus tests nationwide. However, the proportion was slightly higher at 16% in the Northeast. In comparison, the Midwest and South had a positivity rate of nearly 10%, while the West had a rate of almost 13%.

Known for its abrupt appearance of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, and overall discomfort, outbreaks of norovirus are infamous in locations such as cruise ships, nursing homes, prisons, schools, and other settings where individuals have frequent interactions.

This cunning microorganism has important information that you should be aware of:

What is norovirus?

Norovirus infections are caused by a group of viruses that spread remarkably easily. It can take as few as 10 viral particles — “a miniscule amount” — to make someone sick, said Dr. William Schaffner, a infectious-disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

What is the method of transmission for norovirus?

Norovirus is highly transmissible and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, consumption of contaminated food or water, or contact with contaminated surfaces. According to experts, even a single handshake or touching a contaminated object such as a doorknob or handrail can lead to illness.

What is the duration of a norovirus infection?

Onset of illness from norovirus is usually sudden, described by Schaffner as a “strikingly dramatic” event. A person may quickly progress from mild discomfort to feeling very ill in a matter of hours.

The typical duration is two to three days and majority of individuals make a full recovery.

Who is in danger?

There is currently no medication available for norovirus. High concern is placed on dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, making young children, older individuals, and those with compromised immune systems most vulnerable.

Schaffner advised that during times of illness, it is crucial to replenish fluids by sipping water, soda, or other types of beverages, but to avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol. He also stated that anyone who is showing signs of dehydration should consult a medical professional.

What steps can I take to prevent norovirus infection?

During the peak winter season, the most effective way to protect against norovirus infection is to regularly wash your hands with ordinary soap and warm water for 20 seconds before eating. Make sure to scrub your hands thoroughly.

It is crucial to also clean surfaces. According to Schaffner, utilize household disinfectants and vigorously scrub.

Does this current season pale in comparison to previous years?

Experts noted that the trend of norovirus across the country does not appear to show significant differences from previous years. However, they also pointed out that there are still a few weeks remaining in the winter season.

Dr. Daniel Griffin, an expert in infectious diseases at Columbia University Medical Center, stated that a surge of norovirus cases can be anticipated during this time of year. It is an uncomfortable reality.

He mentioned that we commonly refer to it as “winter vomiting disease.”