Norovirus outbreak in Kerala: At least 19 students of a school in Kakkanad in Kerala’s Ernakulam have tested positive for norovirus. Reportedly, some of the parents have also been infected with the virus. Three students are under treatment and their condition is said to be stable. Following this, the school authorities have reportedly suspended regular classes as a temporary measure, however classes will be held online. This is not the first time that Norovirus cases were found in India. Last year, multiple cases were found in Kerala and Karnataka.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is highly contagious and causes diarrhea and vomiting. As per the World Health Organisation, norovirus is a viral illness that is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis globally. It is commonly referred to as 'food poisoning' or a 'stomach bug'. Doctors said that the disease is transmitted by direct contact with an infected person, contaminated food or touching a contaminated surface, and putting unwashed hands in the mouth. The infection is caused and spread through contaminated food and water.
Symptoms of Norovirus
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in the United States, the most common symptoms that a person infected with Norovirus has are:
- Stomach pain
- Body pain
The norovirus infection generally lasts for one to two days after you become infected and there are not many after-effects. However, it can cause dehydration in very young and old people, and in some patients, bodies will remain weak for one more week after contracting the infection.
Prevention from Norovirus
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water particularly after using the toilet and before preparing or handling food.
- Disinfecting any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated
- Proper flushing in the toilet and cleaning of the surrounding area
- Avoiding eating raw, unwashed food
As of now, there is no specific medication to treat people infected with norovirus. The CDC suggests drinking plenty of liquids is important as one must ensure to replace the lost fluid from vomiting and diarrhoea. It helps to prevent dehydration, otherwise, patients have to be administered rehydration fluids intravenously.