New Delhi: As England grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, its public health body is also now witnessing increasing norovirus outbreaks. The Public Health England (PHE) last week said the routine surveillance showed that the number of outbreaks caused by the ‘vomiting bug’ has increased in recent weeks (5-week period from end May to July), particularly in early year educational settings.
“In the last 5 weeks, 154 outbreaks were reported compared to an average of 53 outbreaks reported over the same time period in the previous five years,” the PHE said.
The PHE also stated that cases are returning to pre-pandemic levels across all age groups and settings in the country.
Norovirus is highly infectious
Public Health England said that Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, ‘is highly infectious’ and causes vomiting and diarrhoea. “It is easily transmitted through contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces,” PHE stated.
Symptoms of Norovirus
The PHE stated that the symptoms of Norovirus include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea. It can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. “Stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and do not return to work or send children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared,” the PHE said. To stop the spread, handwashing is important, but, alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus, so soap and water are advised.
The Deputy Director of the National Infection Service, PHE, Professor Saheer Gharbia, said, “Norovirus has been at lower levels than normal throughout the pandemic with less opportunity to spread between people in the community but as restrictions have eased we have seen an increase in cases across all age groups.”
Meanwhile, nearly 40,000 people tested positive with COVID-19 on Monday and more than 3.22 lakh have been infected in the last 7 days in the United Kingdom.