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Norovirus

Context: Two lower primary school students caught the infection through mid-day meals in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Key Points: 

  • Norovirus, also known as the ‘stomach flu, is a highly contagious virus. The infection is associated with intestinal inflammation and malnutrition. It may cause long-term morbidity”.
  • The primary route of the transmission of the norovirus is oral-faecal. It can be transmitted through contaminated water, food, and surfaces. It is similar to diarrhoea, causing rotavirus and infecting people across age groups. 
  • Symptoms: vomiting and/or diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headaches, body aches and dehydration.
  • One can get infected multiple due to different strains of the virus. It is resistant to many disinfectants and can withstand heat up to 60°C. Merely chlorinating water or steaming food does not kill the virus. The virus is also believed to survive many common hand sanitisers.
  • Treatment for norovirus: The disease is self-limiting. The infection normally lasts only for 2-3 days, and most of the infected who are not very young, very old, or malnourished can ride it out with sufficient rest and hydration.
  • Diagnosis is made by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. No vaccines are available for the disease.

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