In news– Recently, several cases of Norovirus have been reported in the state of Kerala.
- It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.
- It is a bug similar to the diarrhoea-inducing rotavirus and it infects people across age groups.
- Disease outbreaks typically occur aboard cruise ships, in nursing homes, dormitories, and other closed spaces.
- The initial symptoms of Norovirus are vomiting and/or diarrhoea, which show up one or two days after exposure to the virus.
- Patients also feel nauseous, and suffer from abdominal pain, fever, headaches and body aches.
- In extreme cases, loss of fluids could lead to dehydration.
- This disease is self-limiting, the infection, even though it takes a lot out of the patient, normally lasts only two or three days.
- It is highly contagious, and can be transmitted through contaminated food, water, and surfaces.
- The primary route is oral-faecal.
- One may get infected multiple times as the virus has different strains.
- It is resistant to many disinfectants and heat up to 60°C.
- Therefore, merely steaming food or chlorinating water does not kill the virus.
- The virus can also survive many common hand sanitisers.
- As per WHO estimations, it is the most common pathogen implicated in outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).
- About one out of every five cases of acute gastroenteritis worldwide is caused by Norovirus.
- Diagnosis is done by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
- No vaccines are available for the disease.