Health agency reports 83 per cent rise in Norovirus cases

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has reported that in the autumn and winter of 2012, there were a total of 3,538 confirmed cases of Norovirus infection reported. This is a huge rise of 83 per cent compared to the same period in 2011.

In a recent report, the HPA, an independent body dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of UK residents, stated that a total of 500 Norovirus cases occurred in the week before Christmas. The week before, around 70 hospital outbreaks were reported.

Most cases of the Norovirus infection – known as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ – go unreported. Symptoms tend to clear up after a day or two, and people with the illness are often advised not to leave the house or visit their doctor because Norovirus is so contagious. This means that there could have been an even larger number of actual Norovirus-related illnesses in 2012 than those recorded by the HPA.

The infection can be caused by a number of causes. As well as contact with an infected person, you can also contract Norovirus through contaminated food. Poor food safety training standards are often responsible for outbreaks, as people with the infection working with food can pass it on to their customers, especially if they don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet or they fail to clean contaminated food preparation surfaces.