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Volume IconWhat is Norovirus? How serious is the infection?

Karnataka has sounded Norovirus alert in its districts bordering Kerala. Kerala's health department has also taken measures to ensure that it is contained. Find out how serious is norovirus

coronavirus, covid

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At least 13 students of a veterinary college in Kerala’s Wayanad were found infected with Norovirus two weeks ago. It is a highly contagious virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea and infects people of all ages. It can spread very easily through food or water that is contaminated and also through close contact with an infected person.

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Just like Covid-19, infected people may show no signs or symptoms. But they are still contagious and can spread the virus to others. A person can get norovirus infection many times because there are several variants and an infection with one type may not protect them against the other type.
The chances of getting the infection are high in closed and crowded environments, such as in public transport, hospitals and in schools. And the most common symptoms of Norovirus are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain or cramps. Other symptoms include fever, headache, body ache and muscle pain. The virus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines, which is called acute gastroenteritis.
The most important thing is to take rest and ensure constant intake of fluids to avoid dehydration. The symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and most people get better within one to three days without treatment. There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. It can take up to two weeks after recovery for the body to shed the virus completely, and longer if there is an underlying health condition.
Maintaining hygiene is the key to prevent norovirus from spreading. Doctors suggest washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before and after handling food. Other prevention tips include washing fruits and vegetables before eating, cooking seafood thoroughly, and disinfecting surfaces that might have been contaminated.

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First Published: Nov 28 2021 | 8:39 PM IST

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