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Norovirus: Two cases confirmed in Kerala; distinct symptoms to watch out for – Times of India

Norovirus: Two cases confirmed in Kerala; distinct symptoms to watch out for – Times of India

The Kerala government on Sunday confirmed two cases of Norovirus in children. Said to be ‘highly contagious’, the Norovirus spreads through contaminated water and food. In view of the aggressive nature of the virus, the Kerala government has urged people to maintain hygiene.

“Norovirus infection has been detected in two children and their health condition is stable. There is no need to be concerned at the moment but everyone should remain careful and maintain cleanliness,” Kerala health minister Veena George told news agency PTI.

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Here are few common questions related to Norovirus answered here:

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  1. What is Norovirus?
    Norovirus is a contagious virus that induces vomiting and diarrhea upon infection. Due to its impact on the gastrointestinal system of the body, the virus is also called as stomach flu or stomach bug. Not just kids, anyone can get affected by the Norovirus. These viruses are notorious in spreading quickly through contaminated foods and surfaces. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one can get Norovirus infection several times in life as there are different types of these viruses and infection from one, does not provide protection against the rest of them. As per a research study, “human norovirus, previously known as Norwalk virus, was first identified in stool specimens collected during an outbreak of gastroenteritis in Norwalk, OH, and was the first viral agent shown to cause gastroenteritis. Illness due to this virus was initially described in 1929 as “winter vomiting disease” due to its seasonal predilection and the frequent preponderance of patients with vomiting as a primary symptom. “The virus was identified following an outbreak in 1968. During that time, 98% of the infected individuals complained of nausea, 92% of vomiting, 58% had abdominal cramps, 52% complained of lethargy, 38% had diarrhea, and 34% had fever.
  2. How does Norovirus spread?
    Norovirus is a communicable disease. If you are in direct contact with someone who is infected with the virus, you are more likely to catch the virus. Apart from this, eating food or having liquids that are contaminated with the virus, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then touching the face or eating something out of the same hands without washing can also help the virus reach your body. The food which is grown or harvested with contaminated water can also spread the virus.
  3. What are the symptoms of Norovirus ‘stomach bug’?
    The common symptoms of Norovirus ‘stomach bug’ are: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Stomach cramping, Chills, Headache, Muscle aches. The symptoms can appear within 12 hours of exposure to the virus and can also come 1-2 days later.
  4. Can there be asymptomatic Norovirus cases?
    Yes there can be. As per the Minnesota Department of Health, sometimes people infected with norovirus have no symptoms at all, but can still pass the virus to others.
  5. Can the virus have a debilitating effect on the body?
    Many people tend to recover within 1-2 days and no long term health complication is seen in them. Dehydration is a major health risk during the Norovirus attack. Young children, older people and those with weak immune systems should not let themselves dehydrate.
  6. How to prevent Norovirus infection?
    Wash your hands regularly; especially after using the bathroom, before eating, before cooking food, and before serving anyone food. After each episode of vomiting and diarrhea, disinfect the entire household. Avoid eating sea foods without cooking them properly as contaminated water is one of the main reasons for the spread of Norovirus. Remain isolated for at least 3 days after your recovery.

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