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What is Norovirus? An Outbreak Affecting People in China?


Not finished with the attack of the corona virus outbreak, China has reportedly been shaken again by the attack of a new virus called norovirus. Disease control authorities in China have revealed that students at a university in Taiyuan, the capital of China’s Shanzi Province, have contracted the norovirus.

The Department of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Taiyuan took a sample of 28 student cases to test for norovirus on Wednesday and Saturday (10/10/2020). As of Sunday (11/10/2020), 22 patients were still being treated in hospital due to diarrhea and vomiting due to this virus and other factors. Then, what exactly is norovirus?

Launching WebMD, norovirus was originally referred to as the norwalk virus which was an epidemic that first appeared in 1972. Norovirus is considered the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) worldwide. The spread of this virus spreads easily through food and drink and can even have a major impact on public health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, the average norovirus causes 19 million to 21 million cases in the US annually. Even so, cases of this norovirus infection generally occur in winter, so people also call it “winter vomiting infection”. It is known that this virus can be transmitted for up to eight weeks. That is, there is a possibility that someone can pass it on to other people. However, these infections usually get less and less over time. In most cases, a person can return to work or activities after being symptom free for 48 hours. However, those who work as food waiters are generally encouraged to quarantine for 72 hours before serving returning customers.

Symptoms of Norovirus

After knowing what norovirus is, now we also need to know the symptoms of the virus. Quoting from Webmd, the symptoms that can be felt are low-grade fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or cramps and even watery diarrhea. These symptoms usually begin 12-48 hours after a person is exposed to norovirus and last 1-3 days later. Most of the symptoms of this virus are not serious, but excessive diarrhea and vomiting can deplete the body’s needed fluids, and can even become dehydrated. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to dehydration and malnutrition because they don’t get enough nutrition.

Spread of Norovirus

This virus is very easily transmitted through contaminated food or drink, and can even spread through the air. This virus can also be spread through feces, meaning that someone who does not wash their hands thoroughly can pass the virus on. Touching the mouth or nose area after touching a contaminated surface or object and coming into close contact with an infected person are also factors of spread. Norovirus thrives in close quarters, such as restaurants, child care centers, and nursing homes. This virus can survive in extreme temperatures in water and on surfaces.

Because the spread of the norovirus is very fast, we need to be careful. However, this virus can be prevented from spreading by washing hands with soap and clean running water, cooking food thoroughly, washing fruits or vegetables to be consumed, and staying indoors if you feel the symptoms listed above. (OKT/NIS)

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