In a follow-up to a report in February about the increase of norovirus seen in Taiwan, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) invited relevant government agencies, including the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Tourism Bureau and the Food and Drug Administration (TFDA), to convene the “Cross-Ministry Meeting on Viral Gastroenteritis Cluster Response Plan” to prevent further spread of the disease, as well as ensure food safety for the citizens and high-quality travel for both domestic and international visitors on March 17, 2015.
The two main topics for discussion in this meeting included sanitation and hygiene management in the tourism industry and the control and prevention of viral gastroenteritis in campus settings.
According to the epidemiological investigation, the recently reported 5 diarrhea clusters in Taiwan have been confirmed to be caused by norovirus, which shows that there is still room for improvement in terms of sanitation and hygiene management in hotels and restaurants.
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.