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Published On: Tue, Oct 1st, 2013

British health officials advise about norovirus as the winter approaches

Health authorities with the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust issued a advisory today for the public on the “winter vomiting disease”, norovirus, as the season approaches.

Norovirus Image/CDC

Norovirus
Image/CDC

They say that norovirus is the most frequent cause of infectious gastroenteritis in England and Wales and typical symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. It usually start to appear during the autumn, peaking during January.

“If someone suspects they have Norovirus they should ensure they do not visit hospitals, schools or care homes to reduce the risk of them passing it on to others,” said Sian Beard, Matron for Infection Prevention.

“They should also avoid work – and only return after they have been free of diarrhoea and vomiting for at least 48 hours– during this time infectious viruses may still be present.”

The Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust warns of norovirus’ effect in hospitals saying because of its highly contagious nature, can quickly spread through a hospital and the only way to combat it once it gets into a hospital environment is to close wards to admissions, restrict visiting and wait for the outbreak to run its course.

This can be highly disruptive to patients in those and other wards. On some rare occasions it may lead to patients having surgery or other procedures cancelled.

PublicHealth England offers the following information and recommendations concerning norovirus:

  • The symptoms usually last from 12 to 60 hours and will start with the sudden onset of nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Norovirus affects people of all ages.
  • Most people recover very quickly but immunity to it is short-lived and it is easily transmitted from one person to another.
  • It thrives in semi-closed environments where large numbers of people congregate, so schools, nursing homes and hospitals are most affected.
  • It is important to be vigilant and good hygiene is particularly important in preventing yourself or others from becoming infected.
  • This includes thorough hand washing especially after using the toilet, and any contaminated surface should be thoroughly disinfected after an episode of illness.
  • Food preparation should also be avoided until three days after symptoms have disappeared.
  • Unfortunately there is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course, therefore it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration especially in the very young or elderly.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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