The Kerala government on Sunday said that norovirus infection, similar to the diarrhoea-inducing rotavirus, was confirmed in two children in capital Thiruvananthapuram.
State Health Minister Veena George said the disease is highly-contagious and urged the people to maintain hygiene.
What is Norovirus?
According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in the United States, it is a highly contagious that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
Norovirus is sometimes called the stomach flu or “winter vomiting bug”. However, its illness is not related to the flu which is caused by influenza virus, the CDC said.
The National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom says that the onset of norovirus can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about two days.
What are the symptoms?
Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines, as per the CDC. This is called acute gastroenteritis.
A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.
Some typical norovirus symptoms are: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Others symptoms include: Fever, headache and body aches.
The CDC warns that norovirus can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.
How norovirus spreads?
A health person can contract norovirus by eating food or drinking liquids that are already contaminated, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting fingers in your mouth, having direct contact with someone who is infected with norovirus, such as by caring for them or sharing food or eating utensils with them.
People infected with norovirus can shed billions of norovirus particles that can't be seen without a microscope, according to the CDC. Only a few norovirus particles can make other people sick.
Practicing proper hand hygiene with soap and water can keep norovirus at bay.
According to the CDC, the virus can also stay in the feces of recovered people for two weeks or more. Therefore, it advises to continue washing your hands often during this time.
How to treat norovirus?
There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. The CDC suggests drinking plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from vomiting and diarrhea to help prevent dehydration.
It says that maintaining hydration is very important in acute phase. Otherwise, patients have to be administered rehydration fluids intravenously.