The Finland National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is reporting more norovirus cases in the early part of 2019 than during the same period last year.
From January through February, some 900 cases have been reported, primarily in big cities and affecting the elderly the most. Hospital outbreaks are also being reported.
“The norovirus epidemic typically strikes this time each year. The peak weeks of infections are now on the way; however, they are likely to drop soon. The disease is moving around Finland, but the biggest number of cases have been in big cities. The types of viruses found are the same as those found in previous years, ” says THL Special Researcher Haider al-Hello .
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.
Health officials say the best way to prevent the infection is to thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap, always after going to the toilet and before eating and eating.