London: Amid the ongoing global battle to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, a new outbreak by the name of Norovirus was reported in the United Kingdom. The new viral outbreak comes at a time when the British government just lifted restrictions under coronavirus lockdown. The Public Health England (PHE) issued a warning over the norovirus outbreak after it observed a surge in cases across the country.Also Read - Restaurants Could Prevent Food-Borne Sickness By Letting Their Sick Employees Stay Home; Here's How

At least 154 cases of norovirus were reported in the last five weeks in England, three times of what has been usually seen during the same period in the last five years. The PHE also noted that the outbreak this time was more prevalent in educational settings, particularly in nursery and childcare facilities. Also Read - IAAF World Athletics Championships: Norovirus Outbreak Affects 30 Persons at Official Team Hotel

What is Norovirus?

Norovirus, commonly known as the “winter vomiting bug”, is a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. The virus can infect people of all ages. According to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus causes more than half of all foodborne illnesses in the United States.

Norovirus is transmitted by coming in direct contact with an infected person, through consumption of contaminated water and food, or even by touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.

Symptoms of Norovirus

Common symptoms of norovirus include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

Other symptoms may also include fever, headache and body ache. It can also cause inflammation of the stomach or intestines – called acute gastroenteritis.

How to treat Norovirus?

There is no specific medication for norovirus and there are different types of the disease, which can affect a person more than one time. As a result, the only way to treat norovirus is by maintaining proper hygiene, much like in the case of coronavirus.

Healthy practices include washing your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers, before eating, preparing, or handling food, and rinsing fruits and vegetables. Alcohol-based sanitisers are recommended. Health experts also advise drinking plenty of liquids to help prevent dehydration.

The infection usually lasts from one to three days. Anyone with such symptoms is advised to stay at home for a few days till the infection subsides. However, older people, small children, and people with underlying medical conditions may need medical attention if infected by norovirus.