Norovirus cases ‘significantly’ on the rise in England – five ways to reduce spread now
The number of reported cases is “the highest at this time of year in a decade.” Norovirus, also known as winter vomiting, is a stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Dr Leslie Larkin, Head of Gastrointestinal Infection Surveillance and Food Safety at the UKHSA, commented on the recent spike in cases.
“Norovirus levels are currently the highest we have seen at this time of year in more than a decade,” Dr. Larkin said.
“Most reported cases are in people over 65 and we are also seeing an increase in reported outbreaks, especially in nursing home settings.
“Please stay at home if you have symptoms of norovirus and do not return to work.”
Dr. Larkin stressed that this is especially true if you are working with vulnerable people or food.
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Children with norovirus should not be sent to school or to a nurse “until 48 hours have passed after the symptoms have disappeared.”
Dr. Larkin added: “If you have a loved one in a nursing home or hospital, please do not visit them for 48 hours after the symptoms have disappeared.”
She stated: “Regular handwashing is really important to stop the spread of this virus.
“But remember, alcohol gels don’t kill norovirus, so soap and warm water are best.”
NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powys said: “The number of people in hospitals with norovirus has increased significantly in line with what we are seeing in the community and in nursing homes.
“It’s a really nasty disease, but for the vast majority of people, it usually goes away in a couple of days.”
How to Protect Yourself and Others from Norovirus
The UKHSA has recommended five key steps to help reduce the spread of norovirus and how best to protect yourself.
According to Dr. Larkin’s advice, one of the best ways to avoid contracting norovirus is to “wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water.”
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Washing hands is recommended not only after using the toilet, but also “before eating and preparing food.”
If someone in your family has nororvirus, you can take precautions to prevent yourself from getting infected.
“When someone with norovirus vomits, the droplets contaminate surrounding surfaces,” notes the UKHSA.
“To disinfect potentially contaminated household surfaces and frequently used items such as toilets, faucets, telephones, doorknobs, and kitchen surfaces, a bleach-based household cleaner or a combination of bleach and hot water should be used.”
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