Norovirus in Kerala:


Why in the news?

Recently, a virus has been detected in Kerala, named Norovirus.

Key highlights:

  • Norovirus, which infects people across age groups, is a bug similar to the diarrhoea-inducing rotavirus.
  •  Disease outbreaks typically occur aboard cruise ships, in nursing homes, dormitories, and other closed spaces.
  • It is the most common pathogen implicated in outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease (inflammation of the stomach and intestines), according to the World Health Organization.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one out of every five cases of acute gastroenteritis worldwide is caused by Norovirus. 
  • There are 685 million cases annually, of which 200 million are detected among children younger than five years. 
  • Nearly 50,000 children die every year due to diarrhoea caused by the virus.
  • No vaccines are available for the disease.

Transmission procedure:

  • Norovirus is highly contagious, and can be transmitted through contaminated food, water, and surfaces.
  • The primary route is oral-faecal.
  •   One may get infected multiple times as the virus has different strains.
  •   Norovirus is resistant to many disinfectants and can heat up to 60°C. Therefore, merely steaming food or chlorinating water does not kill the virus. The virus can also survive many common hand sanitisers


  • 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.

Treatment for Norovirus?

  • 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.
  • repeatedly washing hands with soap after using the lavatory or changing diapers. 
  • It is important to wash your hands carefully before eating or preparing food. 
  • During outbreaks, surfaces must be disinfected with a solution of hypochlorite at 5,000 parts per million. 
  •  It is important to maintain hydration in the acute phase.
  •  In extreme cases, patients have to be administered rehydration fluids intravenously.

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