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What is norovirus, the disease that is affecting more and more children in the UK

With the end of health measures for COVID-19, the UK is facing outbreaks of norovirus, the vomiting virus.

After the controversial ‘Freedom Day’ and the end of sanitary measures due to COVID-19, the United Kingdom is dealing with another virus, whose new cases have tripled in the last five weeks, especially in nurseries and childcare centers where children live little ones.

Its about norovirus, a group of highly contagious viruses that cause gastroenteritis (that is, the joint inflammation of the stomach and intestines). The UK government explained in a statement that the disease presented a unusually high rise for summerespecially when the virus (also known as winter vomiting sickness) tends to increase in colder temperatures.

The main symptoms of norovirus are threw up (occasionally explosive) and diarrhea, but they can be accompanied by stomach pain, fever, headache and body pain.

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According to the British government, the norovirus disease gives in in a couple of days, while the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States) assure that between one and three days later.

A highly contagious and alcohol gel resistant virus

Norovirus is highly contagious because it remains active in contaminated food and water, as well as surfaces that have been handled by someone infected. Unlike COVID-19, it has a short incubation period and the first symptoms appear quickly, between 12 and 48 hours after infection.

Like most cases of the common cold, norovirus is benign in most cases, with a forecast of full recovery in a couple of days. Newborns, older adults, or people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for complications.

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Measures to avoid new infections involve wash your hands with soap and water constantly, avoid cooking or preparing food for 48 hours in the presence of any symptoms and if you become ill, avoid returning to routine activities with other people within 2 days to minimize the risk of new infections.

The best surface disinfectant to prevent the spread of norovirus is chlorine. Unlike SARS-CoV-2, this virus lacks a lipid envelope, so alcohol gel is not effective in deactivating it.

A virus with no pandemic potential

Despite some sensational news that warns of the possibility of norovirus producing a new pandemic, the truth is that this virus lacks the potential to cause a scenario similar to that of COVID-19. The CDC estimates that year after year, noroviruses cause 685 million cases of gastroenteritis worldwide (one in five) and outbreaks are common in places such as hotels, prisons or residences. However, the severity of the disease and the incubation and contagion time prevent it from becoming a global public health issue.

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