India: Ministry issues guidelines as norovirus cases confirmed in Kerala

Health Minister Veena George urges people to be vigilant


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Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 3:21 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 3:55 PM

With norovirus, an animal-borne disease transmitted through contaminated water and food, getting confirmed in Kerala’s Wayanad district, Health Minister Veena George on Friday asked people to be vigilant and issued guidelines for the same.

The Health Minister directed to intensify preventive activities and to spread awareness about the disease. She has also issued an order in the district asking people to be vigilant.

The Kerala health department, in a meeting headed by George, assessed the situation in Wayanad today.

“Currently, there is no cause for concern, but everyone should be vigilant. Activities including super chlorination are underway. Drinking water sources need to be ensured to be hygienic,” she said.

“With proper prevention and treatment, the disease can be cured quickly. Therefore, everyone should be aware of the disease and its means of prevention,” she added.

The norovirus is a group of viruses that cause gastrointestinal illness. The virus causes inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, as well as severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

Norovirus does not significantly affect healthy people, but it can be serious in young children, the elderly, and those with other comorbidities.

This animal-borne disease can also be spread through direct contact with infected individuals.

The virus is spread through the excrement and vomit of an infected person. Therefore, it is essential to be careful as the disease spreads very quickly.

However, the virus can be spread for up to two days after the onset of the disease.

Some common symptoms of norovirus include diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache, and body aches.

Acute vomiting and diarrhoea can lead to dehydration and further complications.

As per the guidelines issued, the infected people should rest at home, as directed by the doctor, and should drink ORS solution and boiled water.

As preventive measures, one should take proper care of their immediate environmental hygiene and personal hygiene.

“Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating and after using the toilet. Those who interact with animals should pay special attention,” the health ministry’s guidelines read.

“Chlorinate drinking water sources, wells and storage tanks with bleaching powder. Use chlorinated water for domestic use. Use only boiled water for drinking,” it added.

The ministry also said that fruits and vegetables should only be used after they have been thoroughly washed. Sea fish and shellfish such as crab and mussels must only be consumed after they are well cooked, the ministry said.

“Avoid stale and exposed foods,” it added.

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