Context: Norovirus infection was confirmed in two school children in Ernakulam district even as health authorities in Kerala stepped up efforts to contain its spread.
What is norovirus?
- Noroviruses are a group of viruses that can cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This infection is often mistakenly referred to as the “stomach flu”.
- Norovirus is not related to the flu (influenza), which is a common respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.
- Noroviruses are very contagious and are found in the stool (feces) or vomit of infected people. From there, noroviruses are transferred to food, water, or surfaces by the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.
- The infected person may feel very sick and vomit many times a day.
- Sometimes people infected with norovirus have no symptoms at all, but can still pass the virus to others.
- People become infected with norovirus by:
- Having direct contact with an infected person.
- Consuming contaminated food or water.
- Touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.
- Norovirus is also known as the vomiting bug, is highly infectious and the primary route for the virus to enter our body is oral-fecal.
- Like coronavirus, Norovirus too can be asymptomatic in some people, and mutates rapidly – different strains of norovirus have been found circulating around the same hospital during one season.
- Most people with symptomatic norovirus infections have diarrhoea, but some experience projectile vomiting as well.
- This creates an aerosol full of viruses that spread around any room and leave it on surfaces, waiting for others to pick it up, as happens with respiratory viruses. COVID-19 also causes diarrhoea in some patients.
- There's no treatment for norovirus, so the patient has to wait and depend upon immunity till the infection run its course and subsides.
- A person doesn't usually need to get medical advice unless there's a risk of a more serious problem.
Source - IE, The Hindu