Increases norovirus diseases in Lower Saxony

Norovirus infections in Lower Saxony are increasing significantly: According to the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), a significant increase can be observed in Lower Saxony in severe gastrointestinal diseases this year. So far, 8,180 cases have been registered since the beginning of the year, compared to 6,590 cases in the same period last year, the TK reports, citing data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

According to the Techniker Krankenkasse, rotavirus and norovirus infections are the most common triggers of increased severe gastrointestinal diseases. These are mostly observed in the winter months. According to the TK, "around 60 percent of all norovirus cases reported in Lower Saxony in 2011 were registered in the months of January to March and in December." Since noroviruses are "extremely contagious" and "tiny virus particles" are sufficient for an infection, she advises TK in their current press release "to comply with important hygiene rules such as washing your hands regularly with soap." Contact with people who are already ill should also be avoided as far as possible.

Braunschweig and Hanover with the most norovirus infections The number of severe gastrointestinal diseases in Lower Saxony has increased by 1,590 cases or 24 percent compared to the previous year. According to the information provided by the Techniker Krankenkasse, "the Braunschweig region with 2,473 reported cases, followed by the Hanover region (2,304 cases)" was most affected. Infection with noroviruses leads to sudden onset symptoms, such as abdominal pain, stomach and intestinal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting after an incubation period of up to three days. The patients show a massive “feeling of sickness, sometimes also poor circulation, mild fever and headache,” reports the TK. The pathogens can be passed on to others around eight days after recovery, so that after the supposed recovery, compliance with the hygiene rules must also be ensured.

Noroviruses are extremely contagious If people in your own household are already suffering from a norovirus infection, compliance with thorough toilet and kitchen hygiene plays a special role. Furthermore, if possible, only one person in the household should take care of the sick in order to minimize the risk of infection for the others, reports the Techniker Krankenkasse. The patients themselves have to drink a lot to compensate for the loss of fluid and "to strengthen the weakened electrolyte balance again", according to the TK. If the course of the disease is severe, the health insurance company should consult a doctor as early as possible. This applies in particular to small children and the elderly.

Annual fluctuations in norovirus infections The rise in severe gastrointestinal diseases on the part of the Lower Saxony authorities has not caused any particular concern. There is no evidence of a wave of norovirus, the state health agency said. "We have only a slight, seasonal increase in the number of cases," said the spokesman for the State Health Office, Dr. Holger Scharlach, to the news agency "dpa" - According to the government spokesman, around 75 percent of the diseases were already registered between January and March this year. Although there were far fewer norovirus infections in 2011, there were significantly more in 2010. Massive annual fluctuations in norovirus infections are not uncommon, as there have been some major outbreaks, such as the recent wave of infections due to contaminated Chinese frozen strawberries among schoolchildren in eastern Germany, sometimes affecting thousands of people. (fp)

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