Norovirus. What do we know about this worrying epidemic of acute gastroenteritis?

Post-Covid, for several weeks now the UK has seen an outbreak of norovirus cases. Mainly responsible for acute gastroenteritis, it is particularly dangerous for frail people. We take stock.

the COVID-19 unfortunately it will not have made others forget epidemics. For several weeks now, the UK has been facing a wave of norovirus (NoV), or commonly known as “vomit virus”. Cause acute gastroenteritis very strong and can be particularly dangerous for frail people. Problem: it is spreading at full speed in nurseries, schools and establishments that welcome dependent people.

Who are the affected people?

If the epidemic does not seem -for the moment- to intensify in France, the health authorities are scrutinizing the situation on the other side of the Channel. According to Lesly Larkin of theUK Health Security Agency (UKHSA): “Norovirus, commonly known as the vomiting virus, has been at lower levels than normal this season, but as people started mixing more, the number of outbreaks started to increase.”

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can be multiple: sudden onset of nausea, vomiting on jets, Diarrheahigh temperature, abdominal pains, dehydration with weight loss… For its part, the Agency national food security, environment, labor (ANSES) specifies that the the symptoms are quite revealing and it should be taken seriously, especially in the most vulnerable people (children, the elderly, people suffering from a chronic disease or immunocompromised).

The incubation period of the virus is from 10 to 50 hours and can affect all sectors of the population.

How is it transmitted?

The highly contagious virus is transmitted, like gastroenteritis, in a “discreet, from person to person, or indirect, through ingestion of contaminated food or water or contact with a contaminated environmentdetails ANSES. These dietary transmissions can then be amplified by person-to-person transmission..

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How to protect yourself?

contagious and resistant, “Noroviruses are resistant to conventional food preservation methods (refrigeration and freezing), as well as to variations in temperature (30 min at 60 ºC) and pH (3 hours at pH 3 at room temperature). Commonly recommended precautions to prevent bacterial growth have no effect on viral contamination. Hygiene standards must be scrupulously respected in case of illness within the home.ANSES explained in a press release.

Therefore, to protect yourself and others, it is essential wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially before preparing meals and after using the bathroom. For people with symptoms, it is best not prepare their meals to avoid further contamination. And finally, it is recommendedavoid eating shellfish without being able to verify its traceability.

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