Norovirus Confirmed In Kerala, Here’s Everything You Need To Know

According to the Kerala government, all the 13 confirmed cases are students of a veterinary college in Pookode near Vythiri in Wayanad district.

The government also added that the infections were reported two weeks ago, and have now been brought under control.

Veterinary college authorities said the infection was first found in students living in hostels outside the campus.

Though things have been brought under control and no further spread is reported, health authorities said they are preparing a data bank of the students of the veterinary science college besides holding an awareness class as part of preventive measures.

What is norovirus?
Norovirus, also called the “winter vomiting bug”, is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days. It is very contagious and can spread from infected animals to humans through close contact. The infection can also be spread through consuming contaminated food or water and by skin contact on contaminated surfaces.

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The first case of human infection was reported in 1936 in Roskilde, Denmark. But it was named after an outbreak in Norwalk Ohio, in the United States in November 1968.

Symptoms of Norovirus
Common symptoms of Norovirus include
diarrhea
stomach pain
vomiting
nausea

Infected people may also experience
fever
headache
body aches
A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.

Like most viral infections, Norovirus also doesn’t have specific treatments and the focus is on containing the symptoms. One of the keys is to avoid dehydration. Improving fluid intake and ORS can help the patients remain hydrated during the infection period.

How to prevent Norovirus infection
Maintaining hygiene plays a key role in preventing infection. Frequent washing of the hands, especially after using the toilet, before preparing and eating the food is recommended.

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Thoroughly cleaning the surface after someone vomits can also prevent the spread of the virus. The virus is spread through the excrement and vomit of an infected person.

Should you be worried?
Probably not. Norovirus does not significantly affect healthy people, but it can be serious in young children, the elderly, and those with other comorbidities.

“Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after using the toilet. Those who interact with animals should pay special attention,” the health ministry’s guidelines read.

“Chlorinate drinking water sources, wells and storage tanks with bleaching powder. Use chlorinated water for domestic use. Use only boiled water for drinking,” it added.

The ministry also said that fruits and vegetables should only be used after they have been thoroughly washed. Sea fish and shellfish such as crab and mussels must only be consumed after they are well cooked, the ministry said.

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