13 Norovirus cases reported in Kerala. What is it?
As many as 13 cases of the norovirus have been reported in Kerala. The infections were seen in students of a veterinary college in Pookode near Vythiri in the Wayanad district. State Health Minister Veena George has asked people to be vigilant and issued guidelines to check the outbreak. But what is the norovirus? How does it spread and what are its symptoms?
'No cause for concern yet'
"Currently there is no cause for concern but everyone should be vigilant. Activities including super chlorination are underway. Drinking water sources need to be ensured to be hygienic," George said. "With proper prevention and treatment, the disease can be cured quickly."
What is the norovirus?
The norovirus is a highly-contagious virus that usually causes vomiting and diarrhea in patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anyone can get infected and sick with it. It is also commonly known as the "winter vomiting bug." Infected people can release billions of virus particles and just a few of them can make other people sick, the CDC says.
How does it spread?
You can contract this virus by 1) Having direct contact with an infected person, 2) Consuming contaminated food or water, and 3) Touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth for eating or other activities.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms of the norovirus are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain, according to the CDC. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches. The virus can also cause inflammation of the stomach or the intestines, a condition called acute gastroenteritis. Symptoms start showing 12 to 48 hours after exposure and usually last between 1-3 days.
Is there a cure?
There is no specific medicine or cure for the norovirus yet. Experts recommend drinking plenty of water and other liquids to replace fluids lost due to vomiting and diarrhea and prevent dehydration. You can also take medicines prescribed by your doctor to manage fever/body pains.
How to prevent the norovirus?
Experts suggest maintaining proper hand hygiene to prevent catching the norovirus. Besides soap and water, you can also use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Do not cook food for others when you are sick for at least two days after the symptoms stop. Clean and disinfect surfaces in your house thoroughly.