The Norovirus season begins in July, despite the fact that it is known as the winter vomiting bug. And, this year, cases are up by nearly twenty per cent in comparison with 2010.
This can have far-reaching consequences when an outbreak occurs in a hospital. Officials have said that twenty-seven hospital wards have been closed following the discovery of the illness.
The Norovirus is extremely contagious, and can be contracted in a number of ways:
- From eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water
- From physical contact with an infected person
- From physical contact with a contaminated surface
While the virus can be pretty nasty for healthy people, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever and headaches, it can be catastrophic and even fatal for those who are frail or have weakened immune systems.
Health and safety training and food safety training are vital in the combat against this virus. It is essential to isolate the virus and prevent it from spreading, which is why restaurants close and wards are shut down once the Norovirus had been identified.
The public is even advised not to visit their GP surgery if they suspect they have the virus, but to contact their doctor or NHS Direct on the phone to prevent the spread of the illness.