Cases of Norovirus discovered in Kerala

The Kerala Health Department confirmed two cases of the gastrointestinal infection norovirus in Ernakulam district students in class one.

What exactly is a Norovirus?

  • Norovirus is a leading cause of acute non-bacterial gastroenteritis in both children and adults worldwide.
  • It causes diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Because it is a diarrhoeal disease, it can cause dehydration, so drinking plenty of fluids is advised.
  • The Norwalk Virus was named after it was discovered in connection with an outbreak of acute diarrhoeal disease in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1968.
  • Later, several stomach flu viruses closely related to the Norwalk virus were discovered, and these are now known as Noroviruses.
  • NoV has been linked to numerous stomach flu outbreaks, most of which have occurred on cruise ships.

How dangerous is this?

  • Norovirus is not a new virus; it has been around for over 50 years and is thought to be one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis.
  • The virus is estimated to kill 200,000 people worldwide each year, with the majority of deaths occurring in children under the age of five and those over the age of 65.
  • The virus is capable of surviving low temperatures, and outbreaks tend to be more common during the winter and in colder countries — that is why it is sometimes referred to as “winter vomiting disease”.

What is the infection rate in India?

  • Norovirus cases are not as common in India as they are in many other places — at the same time.
  • The infection has been reported in previous years, primarily in Southern India, particularly in Kerala.
  • In a 2021 study from Hyderabad, norovirus was found in 10.3% of samples of children with acute gastroenteritis.

Can a norovirus infection cause a widespread outbreak?

  • Despite the fact that more norovirus cases have been identified, experts believe that a large-scale outbreak is unlikely.
  • There has been no epidemiological study to link these cases.
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