Norovirus the “Winter Vomiting Bug”
Norovirus can be transmitted by air, food, water, person to person, or surfaces contaminated by fecal matter from an infected person or settling from the airborne route. Possible contaminated water sources can include wells, lakes, pools, municipal water supplies, and even ice machines. Foods most often associated with Norovirus are shellfish and salads.
According to this article 600,000 to one million individual Norovirus cases in the UK are reported each year. The CDC has indicated more than 20 million cases of gastroenteritis are caused by Norovirus in the United States annually and of those reported cases approximately 70,000 are hospitalized and 800 people die.1
Norovirus cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a virus. It is essential that proper care be taken if contracting Norovirus or any stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Generally it is not a life threatening disease, but individuals with Norovirus can become dehydrated and if not rehydrated can face a life threatening situation. Those most vulnerable are children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
Symptoms of Norovirus may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Additional symptoms may also include headache, weakness, muscle aches, and even a low grade fever.
Prevention is the key. Washing hands is always the first line of defense, especially after using the toilet, and before eating, touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth, or handling any food.. Avoid crowds when possible, wash raw vegetables, and avoid drinking and eating after others.
Surface cleaning and sanitation using chlorine based disinfectants and air purification using photocatalytic oxidation are also very significant for reducing airborne pathogens and the spread of disease. There is no 100% guarantee you will never become ill at one time or another but if you follow careful hygiene and utilize air purification equipment it will greatly lessen your chances of contracting Norovirus or any other contagious illness.