Noro virus on the rise?

Noro virus

Noro virus on the rise.

(26.08.2010) Noro viruses are on the rise, as evidenced by the increasing number of infections every year. According to the Robert Koch Institute, e.g. In Thuringia, for example, up to mid-2010 with 10,313 reported infections, more people had the Noro virus than in the whole of 2009 (9,300 people). "You can only respond to this with iron hygiene," emphasizes Reinhard Puschner, head of the DAK in Nordhausen, and therefore calls on all citizens to step up hygiene measures.

The Noro virus is highly contagious, very robust and spread worldwide. In autumn and winter in particular, the number of infections rises regularly, whereby those affected after a 10 to 50 hour incubation period are plagued by violent vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, headache and fatigue, not infrequently associated with high fever. Although the disease is usually over after two days and the massive loss of fluid due to the sudden onset of vomiting diarrhea can, in rare exceptions, also lead to the patient's death. Older people and children in particular are to be classified here as a risk group for the notifiable disease.

The Noro viruses, which belong to the Caliciviridae family, are among the most common causes of gastroenteritis (commonly known as gastrointestinal flu) and are usually transmitted via contact or smear infections. In most cases, the infection occurs via traces of stool and vomit, which can be transferred directly from person to person via the hands or which are passed on indirectly via doorknobs, taps, toilet lids, etc.

The human Noro virus owes its name to the US city of Norwalk (Ohio), where the first evidence was obtained. The virus, consisting of only one protein shell and genetic material, is four times smaller than the flu virus and very resistant, temperature fluctuations from −20 to +60 ° C cannot harm it and the virus survives for around twelve days even on contaminated substances. Humans are the only reservoir host of the human Noro virus.

Since the risk of infection can be minimized by observing a few simple hygiene rules, the sick and those around them should make sure that they are observed. Consistent hand washing, thorough disinfection of the toilet and surfaces with which the sick have come into contact, use towels and soap separately and wash the clothes and bedding of the sick at at least 60 ° C are the simple tips from the specialist to avoid infection. To the patient's dismay, there are no drugs that have been specially developed for the Noro virus. The main problem is the endemic occurrence (persistent, frequent occurrence of a disease in a limited region) of norovirus infections in hospitals (often in geriatric departments) as well as in old people's and nursing homes, since the already weakened inmates have to struggle much more with the disease. Outbreaks on cruise ships have also been observed more frequently in recent years, although treatment was often difficult due to the spatial situation on board.

Affected people are extremely contagious during the illness and for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have subsided. In the following days there is also still a risk of infection even if the patient already appears healthy again. In addition, the virus spreads via so-called permanent eliminators, which can pass on the virus without showing symptoms of a disease. Following the illness, care should also be taken to comply with the hygiene rules. (fp)

Also read:
Norovirus cases are not uncommon
Beware of the Noro virus

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