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NEW DELHI: Cases of highly contagious stomach bug Norovirus are on the rise in the northeastern United States, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The agency revealed that approximately 16% of the most recent Norovirus tests in the region were positive, exceeding the national average of 12%. In comparison, the Midwest and South reported nearly 10% and the West reported almost 13%.
What is Nororvirus?
Norovirus, also known as the “stomach bug” is a highly contagious virus causing gastroenteritis, inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis globally, presenting symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps. The virus spreads easily through contaminated food, water, surfaces and person-to-person contact. Though typically self-limiting and resolving within a few days, Norovirus infections can be severe, particularly in vulnerable populations such as young children, the elderly and individuals with weakened immune systems.
Norovirus infections result from a group of viruses that spread remarkably easily, requiring as few as 10 viral particles to cause illness, according to Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
How does Norovirus spread?
The mode of Norovirus transmission encompasses person-to-person contact, contaminated food or water, and surfaces. Due to its high contagion, a single handshake or contact with a contaminated surface can lead to illness. The onset of Norovirus illness is sudden and dramatic, with symptoms appearing within hours and typically lasting two to three days. While most people recover fully, dehydration is a primary concern, particularly for young children, older individuals, and those with weakened immune systems. Fluid replacement through water, soda, or other non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages is crucial.
Symptoms of the infection
Symptoms of Norovirus infection include acute gastroenteritis symptoms, such as sudden onset diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach cramps. Some individuals may also experience low-grade fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Symptoms usually emerge 12 to 48 hours after exposure and persist for 1 to 3 days.
The best defense against Norovirus infection involves rigorous and frequent handwashing with ordinary soap and warm water, lasting for at least 20 seconds before meals. According to experts, cleaning surfaces with household disinfectants is also essential and sanitation can also help prevent infection.
(With agency inputs)


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