Recently, Norovirus causes acute infectious diarrhea, which has entered the peak period of the disease. According to the CDC, the peak period of norovirus infection outbreaks is from September to March of the following year, and there is a high possibility of norovirus infection outbreaks after various schools start school.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus, formerly known as Norwalk virus, belongs to the family Caliciviridae. The virus has the characteristics of short incubation period, rapid mutation, strong environmental resistance, diverse transmission routes, and low infection dose, so it is easy to spread among people and is the most important pathogen causing acute gastroenteritis. All people are generally susceptible to the virus.
The duration of immune protection produced by the human body after infection with norovirus is short, so the same person can be repeatedly infected with the same strain or different types of norovirus.
How does norovirus spread?
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. The feces and vomit of patients with norovirus gastroenteritis contain a large amount of virus, and improper handling can easily cause infection. Mass outbreaks often occur in schools, nursery institutions, nursing homes and restaurants.
It is mainly transmitted through the fecal-oral route, including ingestion of aerosols produced by patient feces or vomitus, or ingestion of food or water contaminated by feces or vomitus, and indirect contact with surfaces of environmental objects contaminated by feces or vomitus. Norovirus.
What are the main symptoms of norovirus infection?
The incubation period of norovirus infection is usually 24 to 48 hours, with a minimum of 12 hours and a maximum of 72 hours.
Norovirus gastroenteritis is generally mild. The most common symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, followed by nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fever, chills, and muscle aches.
The symptoms of norovirus acute gastroenteritis are different between adults and children. Vomiting is the main symptom in children, while diarrhea is the most common symptom in adults.
Norovirus gastroenteritis generally has an acute onset and is a self-limiting disease. Most patients can recover within 2 to 3 days after onset. But for infants, young children, the elderly, especially those with underlying diseases, norovirus gastroenteritis can lead to more serious symptoms such as dehydration.
When is Norovirus Infection High?
Norovirus infection can occur throughout the year, with a high incidence in cold seasons. Generally, the peak incidence is from October to March of the following year. Because of its obvious seasonality, it is also called “winter vomiting disease”. Every 2 to 3 years, new mutant strains of norovirus that cause global epidemics may also appear.
How should norovirus gastroenteritis be treated?
Patients with norovirus gastroenteritis do not need to take antibiotics, but should replenish water in time to prevent dehydration. Taking oral rehydration salts (ORS) can help patients rehydrate and balance electrolytes. Seek medical attention in case of severe vomiting or diarrhea.
How to prevent norovirus infection?
At present, non-drug preventive measures are mainly used for the prevention and control of norovirus-specific antiviral drugs and vaccines. Antibodies produced after norovirus infection have no obvious protective effect, so repeated infections are very prone to occur.
These protections should be done at ordinary times:
◆ Maintaining good hand hygiene is the most important and effective measure to prevent norovirus infection and control the spread of norovirus. Before meals and after going to the toilet, wash your hands correctly according to the 6-step hand washing method, with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. It is important to note that sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer are not intended to replace hand washing (as per standard procedure).
◆ If a family member is infected with norovirus, the sick family member should try not to have close contact with other healthy family members, especially not to cook or take care of the elderly, infants and young children.
◆ Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook food correctly, especially foods with high risk of norovirus infection such as shellfish and seafood should be cooked thoroughly.
◆ It is best for patients with norovirus gastroenteritis to be actively isolated at home until 2 days after the symptoms disappear completely (because the patients still have a small amount of detoxification after the symptoms completely disappear), so as to avoid infecting others, especially those engaged in the service industry and collectives Institutional personnel such as chefs, carers, school and kindergarten teachers.
When norovirus gastroenteritis clusters or outbreaks occur, comprehensive disinfection work should be done, focusing on the surface of environmental objects, daily necessities, food processing tools, and drinking water contaminated by patient vomit, feces and other pollutants. Disinfection, the most commonly used is a chlorine-containing disinfectant.