At least two cases of norovirus have been found in Thiruvananthapuram among lower primary school students.
Health department officials said the infection, which causes vomiting, diarrhoea and fever as symptoms, was diagnosed after samples were tested at a government analytical lab.
What is norovirus?
- Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that is also sometimes referred to as the ‘stomach flu’ or the ‘winter vomiting bug’. It can be transmitted through contaminated food, water, and surfaces. The primary route is oral-faecal.
- It is similar to diarrhoea-inducing rotavirus and infects people across age groups. Disease outbreaks typically occur aboard cruise ships, in nursing homes, dormitories, and other closed spaces.
- According to the WHO, emerging evidence suggests that “norovirus infection is associated with intestinal inflammation, malnutrition and may cause long-term morbidity”. It adds that an estimated 685 million cases of norovirus are seen annually, including 200 million cases amongst children under 5.
What are the symptoms?
- The initial symptoms of norovirus are vomiting and/or diarrhoea, which show up one or two days after exposure to the virus.
- Patients also feel nauseous, and suffer from abdominal pain, fever, headaches and body aches. In extreme cases, loss of fluids could lead to dehydration.
The disease is self-limiting. The infection, even though it takes a lot out of the patient, normally lasts only two or three days, and most individuals who are not very young, very old, or malnourished can ride it out with sufficient rest and hydration.