Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Tis The Season For Norovirus - Always

Norovirus keeps cropping up. The New York Post reported yesterday that emergency rooms in that city are seeing 500 cases of norovirus a day. The Centers for Disease Control reports that there have been at least 14 confirmed outbreaks of the virus on cruise ships calling at US ports this year. And now, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection has advised that there have been 93 norovirus outbreaks in childcare centers, schools and other institutions in the former Crown Colony in 2007, affecting 921 people.

Victims of norovirus infection suffer from vomiting, nausea and copious, watery diarrhea. The virus is very hardy, and survives for days on dry surfaces. It is usually spread through direct or indirect contact with contaminated vomit or feces.

To protect yourself from contracting a norovirus infection, pay special attention to personal hygiene. If you are spending time in public areas - hotels, restaurants, department stores, nursing homes, childcare centers, cruise ships or movie theaters - be careful to avoid touching your hands to your face at any time. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, using plenty of soap and hot running water.

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