Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has today announced that there has been an increase in levels of norovirus across Scotland.
Latest figures show that NHS Boards are experiencing increased norovirus activity.
Health professionals across NHS Scotland are working to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks arising. The public are also being asked to play their part in minimizing the spread of the virus.
Lisa Ritchie, Nurse Consultant, Infection Control at HPS, said: “Norovirus is a highly infectious virus that causes outbreaks in the community, healthcare and care settings. It is present all year round but becomes more common in the winter when people stay indoors for longer and in larger groups.
“To help reduce the risk of outbreaks in hospitals, care settings and the wider community, we are again asking members of the public who think they have norovirus to stay at home until at least 48 hours after any symptoms have stopped.
“As norovirus is so infectious, it is important that everyone plays their part in reducing the risk of outbreaks. To do this, hospitals may suspend access to particular wards to protect patients, staff and visitors from norovirus and to minimize disruption to healthcare services.”
Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
The symptoms include nausea,vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever,chills,headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days.
In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.