Aspects Of The Epidemics Of Norovirus

In the news article by Erica Edwards, published on April 2, 2022, for NBC News, “Covid cases are down. Unfortunately, stomach flu outbreaks are up.” she claims that since the number of people infected with coronavirus significantly decreased and this led to the loosening of the pandemic restrictions, the number of patients with the stomach bugs, known as norovirus, increased dramatically. She states that while last year the number of infected with norovirus was 78 people, only since January did their number constitute 448 cases already (Edwards, 2022). Moreover, the number of cases currently continues to grow at a high rate. The author supposes that the reason for this rapid spread of norovirus, which can be transmitted through different surfaces, can be the mitigation of the coronavirus restrictions such as wearing protective masks or cancellation of public gatherings (Edwards, 2022). Edwards (2022) states that even if norovirus is not transmitted via respiratory droplets like coronavirus, this stomach bug can spread to many people via surfaces as well as infected food or water.

According to the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases, noroviruses are a group of highly infectious pathogens that cause stomach- and intestine-related illnesses such as gastroenteritis (“Norovirus”, 2019). This virus belongs to the family of Calicivirus, among which norovirus is found to be the most dangerous (Cates et al., 2020). It is a single-strained, gram-positive RNA virus that is difficult to grow in laboratories (Cates et al., 2020). This pathogen, widely known as a ‘stomach bug,’ can be spread from person-to-person, infected food, water, or other surfaces. The most common symptoms of this virus are diarrhea, feeling sick, stomach cramping, and vomiting. The virus can also lead to lethal cases, especially among infants and the elderly. No vaccine has been discovered to prevent the norovirus from infecting the body. Unfortunately, the ‘stomach flu’ caused by the virus cannot be treated using medicines; the only way of treatment is the consumption of plenty of water.

References

Cates, J. E., Vinjé, J., Parashar, U., & Hall, A. J. (2020). Recent advances in human norovirus research and implications for candidate vaccines. Expert Review of Vaccines, 19(6), 539–548.

Edwards, E. (2022). As Covid restrictions ease, another virus rises back to pre-pandemic levels. NBC News.

Norovirus. (2019). National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.