What is Norovirus | All About Norovirus | Norovirus Outbreak in the UK | How it is linked to Coronavirus? Symptoms, Transmission, and Prevention

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norovirus

Context

Norovirus outbreaks increasing in England:-
Public Health England is reminding the public of simple actions that they can take to reduce the spread of norovirus.
Winter Vomiting Virus warning for England:-
> On 16th July 2021, Public health experts in England warned of an increase in the number of cases of the vomiting bug norovirus in the UK.
Public Health England (PHE) says 154 norovirus outbreaks have been reported in the last 5 weeks, compared to an average of 53 over the same time period in the previous 5 years.
> The outbreaks come with the easing of COVID – 19 induced restrictions and lockdown in the UK.

Norovirus is sometimes referred to as the Winter Vomiting Bug because generally, it is seen between November to April. But this time its outbreak was found in Summer, this is pretty shocking.

Virus Classification:-

Well this Classification is not much important with respect to UPSC but it is better for General Knowledge

  • Realm: Riboviria
  • Kingdom: Orthomavirae
  • Phylum: Pisuviricota
  • Class: Pisoniviricetes
  • Order: Picornavirales
  • Family: Caliciviridae
  • Genus: Norovirus
  • Species: Norwalk virus
Norovirus
Pic Source: CDC

What does it cause?

It is a most common cause of Gastroenteritis

It is very Contagious – People sick with it can shed billions of Norovirus particles.

It only takes a few of these virus particles to infect others.

The main spread root of this virus is Feco-Oral, which means it will be visible in the stool and the vomit of the infected person.

Symptoms appear 1 to 2 days after people become infected.

People can pass on norovirus or shed the virus during this period but are most infectious when they have symptoms.

Symptoms Include:-

  • Sudden, Projectile Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • High temperature.
  • Abdominal Pain (Swelling in the small intestine) and aching limbs.
  • It may be extremely unpleasant but usually goes away in about 2 days.

You can usually treat it at home, with rest and lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Outbreaks have been known to affect hospitals and care homes too

Avoid visiting elderly or sick relatives, particularly if they are in hospital, experts advise.

Norovirus makes an unwelcome return and cases are having with the easing of social distancing restrictions, the vomiting bug is back in even bigger numbers

Scientists say the COVID – 19 induced lockdown and social distancing measures have kept us away from exposure to regular pathogens, for more than a year now.

This has weakened the ability of the body’s immune system to fight simpler diseases. Now, with the lifting of lockdown, our bodies are once again exposed to many pathogens, while we are left without adequate immune defense against them.

Norovirus

What is the current status of England?

Most cases have been in educational settings, particularly in nurseries (with children returning to school).
Cases are returning to Pre – Pandemic levels across all age groups and settings should be on alert.
Norovirus cases have been at lower levels than normal throughout the pandemic, with less opportunity to spread between people in the community. However, as restrictions have eased in England, an increase in cases across all ages groups has been observed. PHE Says it is possible that unusual or more out of season increases could be seen in the coming months following further easing of covid control measures.

Preventive Measures

  • If someone has Norovirus, the advice is to stay at home
  • Do not return to work or send children to school until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water.

Unlike COVID, alcohol gets do not kill off norovirus.
Bleach in water also works to clean contaminated surfaces, such as toilets and taps.
If you are ill, avoid cooking and helping prepare meals for others until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped, to avoid passing the infection on.
Wash any contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent and at 60°C.
If possible, wear disposable gloves to handle contaminated items.

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