With the officials number of norovirus cases at 199, as of Feb. 13, according to the Korea Center for Disease Control (KCDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) published a Norovirus Questions and Answers on Wednesday:
What is norovirus?
Norovirus is a common viral infection that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. This mild to moderate illness generally resolves within a couple of days without treatment. However, severe disease and complications can occur among young children, older people and those with compromised immune systems.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Typical symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting. Other common symptoms may include fever, nausea, abdominal pain, headache and body aches. Symptoms can last up to 72 hours. After experiencing norovirus, people remain infectious for up to 3 weeks even if they show no symptoms.
How do I get norovirus?
You may be infected by consuming food or drinks contaminated with norovirus, or by touching contaminated surfaces and objects. Norovirus also spreads easily from person to person through direct contact with people or bodily fluids.
How do I protect myself and others against norovirus infection?
- Practice good hand hygiene; wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before preparing or eating food and after using the toilet.
- Soap and water is the preferred method of hand hygiene to prevent infection. In norovirus outbreaks, hand sanitizers should not be substituted for handwashing with soap and water.
- When eating out or preparing food at home, make sure proper sanitary and food preparation procedures are followed:
- Food preparation areas should be clean and food handlers hygienic
- Raw and cooked food should be separated
- Food should be cooked or reheated thoroughly
- Ready-to-eat food should not be kept at room temperature for more than 2 hours
- Raw vegetables and fruits should be thoroughly washed and peeled before consumption.
- Drink only bottled water and beverages.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick with diarrhoea and vomiting. When caring for someone who is sick, wash your hands regularly.
- All surfaces must be cleaned thoroughly then disinfected using household bleach containing sodium hypochlorite. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using and diluting disinfectant.
- All clothes and/or linen contaminated with vomit or stool should be immediately removed (carefully) and washed.
What if I get sick?
If you experience symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, stomach-ache or fever:
- Seek medical care if you experience: diarrhoea for more than 3 days, blood in your stools, high fever, or if you are otherwise concerned about your condition.
- Isolate yourself and avoid contact with others until your symptoms have stopped. Avoid preparing and handling food for others while you are exhibiting symptoms and for at least 2 days after symptoms subside and preferably longer.
- Stay hydrated. Ensure that you drink sufficient amounts of fluids, such as clean water, oral rehydration formula, weak tea, soups or other safe fluids. Avoid drinks that tend to remove more water from the body, including coffee, overly sweetened drinks, some medicinal teas and alcohol.