Well if you are hearing about Norovirus for the first time, you might probably think of it as a new variant of coronavirus outbreak. But none of it is true. This is not a brand-new virus in fact it has been there for ages. But what caused this virus to come in limelight? This ruckus is a result of a CDC report that claimed; 300 people sailing on the cruise ship named Ruby Princess ship suddenly fell ill. So let’s get deep into this article to see what is norovirus and passengers sailing on the ship got affected by it.
Table Of Content
- What Is Norovirus?
- Symptoms Of Norovirus
- CDC Report On Norovirus Outbreak On Ruby Princess Ship
- Is Norovirus A Concern For Travelers?
- What Precautions Should Travellers Take?
What Is Norovirus?
Norovirus is an infection that belongs to the family of Caliciviridae virus. Basically, the symptoms of this virus are excessive vomiting and diarrhea which seem to appear out of nowhere. The norovirus is extremely infectious. They are frequently transmitted via infected food or water or through contaminated surfaces. Direct contact with a person infected with norovirus can potentially transfer the virus.
Additional norovirus symptoms comprise stomach discomfort, nausea, headache, body pains, and fever. All these symptoms may start to appear approximately 12 to 48 hours following exposure to the virus. Symptoms of a norovirus infection typically last from one to three days. Most people heal entirely on their own. Nonetheless, vomiting and diarrhea can be highly dehydrating for certain people, particularly small children, elderly adults, and persons with underlying medical issues, and may necessitate medical treatment.
Basically, this virus transmits quickly in crowded and closed areas. For instance Schools, hospitals, gardens, markets, and in this case a cruise ship.
Symptoms Of Norovirus
The symptoms and indications of norovirus infection might appear unexpectedly which include;
- Stomach cramps or pain
- Diarrhea that is watery or loose
- Feeling sick
- Fever of low severity
- Muscle ache
Sometimes people with infection might not show any signs or symptoms they are, nonetheless, infectious and can transfer the illness to others.
Excessive puking and Diarrhea also lead to severe dehydration. The following are the possible symptoms of Diarrhea;
- Mouth and throat dryness
- Reduced urine production
CDC Report On Norovirus Outbreak On Ruby Princess Ship
According to the CDC(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and cruise ship agency, 284 out of 2881 passengers voyaging on the ship reported feeling ill on its Feb. 26 cruise. Moreover, 34 staff members experienced the same thing: gastrointestinal sickness with symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
On March 5, epidemiologists and environmental health officers from the (Vessel Sanitation Program) performed a field investigation in Galveston, Texas. They performed “a focused health and environment evaluation to examine for contamination and pathways of a virus outbreak.
Following this norovirus ruckus, the spokesperson of the Cruise ship issued a statement saying, as soon as the passengers started to report cases of gastrointestinal illness they took action by initiating sanitization procedures to prevent the infection from spreading.
According to the same spokesperson the sanitation protocol was carried out with help of the CDC. The protocol included disinfection of frequently touched surfaces for instance handrails, metal bars, doorknobs & buttons. Infected guests were isolated in their rooms till their illness is no longer contagious. And guidelines were issued to passengers to practice safety measures to avoid the infection.
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Is Norovirus A Concern For Travelers?
If you are reconsidering your plans as many are doing these days because of this Norovirus outbreak. Let us tell you that CDC has claimed that there is nothing to be concerned about.
Although the cases are rising lately in the United States it’s not more than usual so there is no need to cancel your plans Yet, there are several precautions you should take to protect yourself and your family.
What Precautions Should Travellers Take?
For starters, you can definitely follow the guidelines issued by WHO during the Coronavirus outbreak. These are some additional preventive measures you can look out for;
1. Thoroughly Wash Your Hands For At Least 20 Seconds:
While washing your hands with soap or hand wash make sure you cover all nooks and cranes of your hands. For better understanding follow the 7 steps suggested by WHO.
2. Avoid Consuming Infected Food And Drink:
Avoid meals prepared by an infected person at any cost.
3. Thoroughly Wash Your Food:
Before eating vegetables and fruits make sure to properly wash it. Otherwise, you can use those detoxification machines to completely get rid of all small microbes.
4. Cook Seafood Carefully:
Make sure that your food is completely cooked before eating it. Or you can completely avoid seafood for a few days.
5. Disinfect Any Potentially Infected Surfaces:
While sanitizing the surfaces use gloves and Chlorinated bleach solution or any other such disinfectant that works against norovirus.
6. When Traveling, Exercise Extreme Caution:
If you plan to visit locations where there is a large probability of norovirus infection, consume only prepared meals, drink only hot or carbonated beverages, and avoid food offered by street sellers.
If possible avoid such traveling unless it is too important. Carry sanitizers and masks all the time.
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7. Avoid As Much Interaction With People As Possible:
Avoid shaking hands with anyone as much as possible. You can use the traditional Indian way of saying Namaste by joining two hands. And maintain distance while talking with someone.
8. Avoid Touching Anything That Is Used By Others:
If you are using public toilets do not use the soap bars used by strangers. Instead, carry pocket-size handwash or paper soap with you.