Two cases of the highly contagious norovirus confirmed in Kerala: Know how it is different from coronavirus

The Kerala government has confirmed two cases of norovirus infection in two primary school students. According to the state health department, the virus, which is similar to the diarrohea-inducing rotavirus, spreads through contaminated water and food.

According to ministry officials, it is believed students got food poisoning after consuming the mid-day meals served at school.

Here’s everything to know about the infection

Dr Manoj Sharma, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj said that norovirus is a “highly contagious” virus that causes gastroenteritis — nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. “The mode of transmission is through the fecal-oral route, which means one can get infected if they come in contact with contaminated food, water, or even fecal matter, said Dr Sharma.

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Experts say it can also spread in the absence of adequate hand hygiene.

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Treatment

With viral gastroenteritis, the treatment is primarily symptomatic and supportive. “So, antibiotics do not play any role. It is mainly about maintaining hydration — having ORS. Viral gastroenteritis tends to last for five to six days or maybe longer. The key is to prevent dehydration,” said Dr Sharma.

How are norovirus and coronavirus different?

While Covid is transmitted via air, norovirus is transmitted the orofecal way. “The virus has to be ingested for one to be infected by it. While maintaining hand hygiene is crucial in both cases, masking is mainly for Covid. That is because the route of transmission is different in each case,” Dr Sharma explained.

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