Health Alert - Norovirus

NOROVIRUS

Researchers at the University of New South Wales say a new strain of gastroenteritis virus could affect thousands of Australians this winter. Researchers first identified the strain of the gastro virus (a Norovirus) known as Sydney 2012, last March. The virus is expected to be the dominant strain of gastro this winter. Projections show as many as 400,000 Australians could be affected.

What it is

The virus, which is highly contagious, causes vomiting and diarrhoea.  As there is no specific cure, you have to let it run its course, but it should not last more than a couple of days.  The period from when you are infected to when you start to show symptoms (known as the incubation period) usually lasts 12-48 hours. During this time, you may be infectious to other people. Having norovirus can be an unpleasant experience, but it's not generally dangerous and most people make a full recovery within a couple of days, without having to see a doctor.

What should you do?

If you have norovirus (or think you have), the following steps should help ease your symptoms:

  • Stay at home because norovirus is contagious and you may infect other people.
  • Follow the simple infection control advice described below for yourself and your family
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • If you feel like eating, eat foods that are easy to digest. 
  • Contact your GP to seek advice if your symptoms last longer than a few days or if you already have a serious illness, or medical condition.

To receive a copy of the full health alert, please contact the RAHC clinical team.

This alert was supplied courtesy of Aspen Medical.

Friday, 22 February 2013