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Current Affairs

Norovirus

Date: 16 November 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Multiple cases of Norovirus infection has been reported from Kerala’s Wayanad. The infected individuals were students of a veterinary college.

 

Details

Norovirus is a bug that is similar to rotavirus that causes diarrhea. This infection usually takes place in cramped spaces such as cruises ships, dormitories, nursing homes etc.

 

Symptoms of the infection

  • Exposure to the virus will result in diarrhea and vomiting within one or two days of getting infected.

  • Other associated symptoms include headaches, nausea, fever, body aches, and abdominal pain. Sometimes loss of fluids can lead to dehydration.

 

Treatment

  • The infection is usually self-limiting. The symptoms vanish after two-three days but it affects patient’s health immensely.

  • Except people who are old, malnourished and suffering from illness, others can easily get well without any targeted treatment.

 

Spreading of infection

  • Norovirus can spread from one person to another through contaminated food, surfaces and water. Oral-faecal is the primary source.

  • The virus has resistance against several disinfectants and also heat up to 60 degree Celsius. It also has multiple strains that have different resistance levels.

  • Steaming food and using chlorine for water may not eliminate the virus. These viruses can survive several common hand sanitisers.

 

Infection trend

  • It is the most common virus that is responsible for outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease. About one in five cases of gastroenteritis in the world is caused by Norovirus.

  • Nearly 50,000 children die annually as a result of diarrhea caused by the virus. Most of the children are below five years.

 

Prevention

  • To prevent the infection, repeated washing of hands using soap has to be carried out. It should be performed after using washrooms and changing diapers.

  • Surfaces have to be sanitized using a solution of hypochlorite at 5,000 parts per million during outbreaks.

  • There are no vaccines developed for prevention against the disease. Diagnosis of virus is done using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.