Norovirus, a highly transmittable virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea among the infected is causing panic in the United States as the number of positive cases is soaring high.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the U.S. CDC) released a data report that made the Norovirus seem like a seasonal high.
The average test rates of Norovirus over the past three weeks have crossed 15 percent of positive test results. This is regarded as the highest positive test rate since the March of the previous year, 2022. Norovirus is one of the primary causes of foodborne diseases in the country.
Norovirus is widely referred to as the stomach flu in the US although it is to be kept in mind that the virus could not be included in the category of the common flu virus. The virus can be detected when the person is having frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Mild fever and body pains are reported among a few.
Other symptoms are feeling of nausea and pain in the stomach. When the infected person vomits and has diarrhea several times a day it could be a potential reason for dehydration.
Dehydration can happen to younger children, people who already have any other condition of illness, and among the elderly. Symptoms of dehydration can be detected by noticing a lower amount of urine, feeling dryness in the mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy while standing.
The outbreak of the virus is common in the nation during the months starting from November to April. The virus can spread by touch, through the air, and through the water. If someone carrying the virus touches another one, the latter would be infected.
Touching the objects used by an infected person or coming into direct contact with the surface that was used by the infected can all cause the spreading of the virus. Sharing food and drinking water from the same glass or bottle could also be the reasons to test positive for the virus.
The virus would initially make the person feel sick and then the body would start building immunity against the virus. The person might feel better and not show any symptoms, but the virus can still stay with the person for another two weeks or make him or her the carrier.
The person can transmit the virus to others even in the carrier phase even when they are feeling better and not sick. The virus requires the presence of only a few particles in order to spread from one person to another; or from one surface to a person; or from a surface to another surface; or from a person to a surface.
Kate Grusich, a spokesperson for the CDC said that Norovirus outbreaks and reported cases from both state health departments and clinical laboratories were on a hike but the cases have not yet exceeded the expected range for the current time of the year.
Grusich added that the prevention measures that were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic were likely to be effective in preventing notorious outbreaks.
Grusich continued that the number of norovirus outbreaks has returned to levels similar to the pre-pandemic years following the relaxation of the pandemic restrictions.
After entering the body of a person the virus can cause inflammation in the person’s stomach or in intestines. This is termed acute gastroenteritis.
The virus can infect anyone irrespective of the age group that they belong to ranging from infants and toddlers to senior citizens. Food items that are prone to contain the presence of Norovirus are shellfish such as oysters, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, and fresh fruits.
The common symptoms of the viral disease are diarrhea and vomiting, while stomach pain and nausea are also found in some people.
Generally, the Norovirus is only capable of causing an acute illness that would last for a time of 1 or a maximum of 2 days in the case of most people. Only a few would have an infection that would last for 6 days or so.
In the past, the places that have witnessed the most number of Norovirus outbreaks have been primary schools and childcare centers. Multiple shared spaces and students coming to close contact with each other frequently, make it easy for the virus to transmit in schools also in colleges, and universities.
Norovirus is also known as cruise ship virus as the outbreak of the virus is a common occurrence in cruise ships.
The civilians can undertake preventive measures in order to combat the raging outbreak by maintaining hygiene and cleanliness. Washing hands with soap and water frequently or using hand sanitizers can be adopted by everyone.
Rinsing and cleaning fruits and vegetables before consuming or cooking and adequately washing hands after touching the fruits and vegetables are other measures that can be adopted.
In the case of consuming shellfish attention should be taken to cook them completely; consuming them in a half-boiled state is strongly unrecommended. People who feel sick and have the symptoms are advised to say home and consult a medical practitioner as soon as possible.
Wearing facial masks and avoiding contact with other people are encouraged. In the case of testing positive for the virus, the person should be kept in a locked room without having contact with anyone else.
The person should also not touch food items or cook for others. Amble rest is to be taken and should take care of not getting dehydrated.