The highly infectious Norovirus is now spreading in UK, which has relaxed the COVID-19 induced restrictions. But is the world ready for another outbreak?
The virus has been labelled by disease experts similar to COVID-19 which is still continuing to infect countless lives across the world relentlessly. In the past weeks, UK has witnessed a sharp surge in the Norovirus cases, as found out by its routine surveillance.
The faint silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that disease experts, government employees, and masses have all gotten relatively sensitive to new outbreaks. Thanks to information available all over the internet, people are now being able to keep themselves briefed with new diseases, their symptoms and their cures.
A new disease – Norovirus – is now spreading all across UK and within just a month, as many as 154 new cases of Norovirus has been registered in England. According to PHE (Public Health England) the spread in the disease is concerning as it is a 3-fold increase in the cases over the same period during the last 5 years.
“Norovirus reports increased to levels before COVID-19″
The UK’s primary healthcare body PHE issued a warning yesterday over the virus’ outbreak after it observed the sharp increase in the fresh cases in England. Norovirus is a highly infectious disease also known as vomiting bug.
While the fact that the virus is highly infectious is a concern in itself, a more worrying fact being reported by the PHE is that the cases are being reported in nursery and childcare institutions.
In its statement, the PHE said-
“The overall number of laboratory-confirmed norovirus reports across all age groups has also recently increased to the levels seen in previous years before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
What is Norovirus?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention-
“Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. People of all ages can get infected and sick with norovirus.”
The disease is also known as stomach bug or winter vomiting bug. What makes the virus so tricky and thus, alarming, is that once a person gets infected with one type of norovirus and acquires immunity for it, the immunity may not protect the patient with other types of the virus.
Is Norovirus similar to COVID-19?
Not for the most part, however, the fact that one may not be protected against all types of Noroviruses after they get infected once makes it similar to COVID-19. After the COVID-19 virus got further mutated into multiple variants, several people who developed immunity by getting recovered or by getting vaccinated, too contracted the virus.
What are the symptoms of Norovirus?
As mentioned earlier, Norovirus is known as the stomach bug, and hence, its symptoms include inflammation in stomach or intestines. After a person contracts the virus, they start developing symptoms within the next 12-49 hours (depending on their genes, and other factors).
Symptoms of Norovirus include having severe vomiting, having diarrhea several times a day. People – who may have comorbidities – may especially find it challenging to deal with the virus as it dehydrates them and makes them vulnerable to infections.
While the usual symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, other symptoms include high fever, body ache, and headaches.
How to treat Norovirus?
As per the CDC-
“There is currently no vaccine to prevent norovirus; although, this is an area of active research.”
However, worrying this may sound, one should practice proper hand hygiene, handling food safely and creating a routine where hygiene is followed such that viruses can’t survive.