Norovirus cases found in Kerala. Here’s all about this highly-contagious disease, its symptoms, how to prevent

Two cases of highly-contagious norovirus have been reported in Ernakulam district of Kerala. As per the state’s health department, two Class 1 students have tested positive for the zoonotic disease. The district health department has initiated measures to prevent the spread of the disease. The school has declared a holiday for classes 1 to 5 following the outbreak.

Here is everything you should know about this zoonotic virus:
What’s Norovirus?
Norovirus, previously known as Norwalk virus, was first identified during an outbreak of gastroenteritis in Norwalk in 1929. Gastroenteritis illness due to this virus was initially described as “winter vomiting disease” due to its seasonal emergence in winters.

It is a highly contagious virus that is also known as the “stomach flu”. As per WHO, an estimated 685 million cases of norovirus are seen each year globalle, with 200 million instances among children under the age of five.

What are the symptoms of Norovirus
Vomiting and diarrhoea are the first symptoms of norovirus. The symptoms appear in one or two days after contact with the virus.

Patients can also experience nausea, stomach pain, fever, headaches, and body aches. Loss of fluids can cause dehydration in extreme circumstances.

How to prevent yourself from Norovirus:
The most easy prevention is to repeatedly wash hands with soap. It is important to wash hands properly before eating or preparing food.

Norovirus is resistant to a wide range of disinfectants and can stay alive even at high temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius. So, simply heating food or chlorinating water is insufficient to eliminate the virus. Many common hand sanitisers are also resistant to the virus.

How Norovirus spread?
Contaminated food, water, and surfaces can spread the virus. The virus enters the body through oral or faecal route.

It can be transmitted through close contact with infect people, or by touching contaminated surfaces. It can also spread through contaminated water and through direct contact with infected individuals.

It can also spread by eating food that has been prepared or handled by someone with a stomach bug. The virus is also believed to spread through the excrement and vomit of an infected person.

Who can get infected with Norovirus:

The virus can infect people of all ages and is similar to diarrhoea-causing rotavirus. The disease outbreak is quite common on cruise ships, nursing homes, dormitories, and other enclosed places.

(With inputs from health)

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