New Delhi: While England is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, its public health agency is also seeing an increase in norovirus outbreaks. The Public Health England (PHE) said last week that routine surveillance revealed an increase in the number of outbreaks caused by the ‘vomiting bug’ in recent weeks (5-week period from end May to July), particularly in early year educational settings.
“154 outbreaks were reported in the last 5 weeks, 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 in the country are returning to pre-pandemic levels across all age groups and settings.
The norovirus is extremely contagious.
Norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug, is a ‘highly infectious’ virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea, according to Public Health England. According to PHE, “it is easily transmitted through contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces.”
According to the PHE, Norovirus symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting, and diarrhoea. It may also include a fever, abdominal pain, and aching limbs. “If you have norovirus symptoms, stay at home and do not return to work or send children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared,” the PHE advised. Handwashing is important to prevent the spread of norovirus, but alcohol gels do not kill norovirus, so soap and water are recommended.
Professor Saheer Gharbia, Deputy Director of the Public Health England’s National Infection Service, stated, “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 for COVID-19 on Monday, and over 3.22 lakh have been infected in the United Kingdom in the last seven days.