The health department found two positive cases of Norovirus on Monday in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The two patients are lower primary school students. The health department has taken more samples from the school and sent them for the test. However, the initial probe says that the students got food poisoning from the meal-day meals distributed at the school.
Kerala Education Minister, V Sivankutty, assembled an official meeting to discuss the steps to prevent and manage the virus. Earlier in March 2022, the curable but highly infectious virus spiked in the United Kingdom.
The symptoms of Norovirus, a highly contagious virus, are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. Further, it can transmit via food, water, and surfaces. The virus infects people across all age groups and is the same as rotavirus, the diarrhea-inducing disease. The general target places of Norovirus are nursing homes, dormitories, cruise ships, or other closed spaces.
The primary path of progression for Norovirus is oral-fecal. A person can get contaminated multiple times with the virus due to its distinct versions. Many disinfectants have zero effect on it. Moreover, Norovirus can survive in temperatures up to 60°C. Thus, we cannot prevent the spread of the virus through food just by steaming it. Even chlorinating the water does not kill the virus. Studies show that even regular hand sanitizers can’t kill Norovirus. However, the infection lasts only two to three days.
Essential precautions involve frequently washing hands with soap after using the restroom or changing diapers. Washing hands before and after preparing or eating meals is also crucial. Regular disinfection of surfaces with hypochlorite solution is a must.
Health workers diagnose the Norovirus using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. There is no vaccine available for the disease yet. In the acute phase, maintaining body water levels is of utmost importance. However, in extreme cases, patients have to be aided with rehydration fluids intravenously.