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Norovirus is back: Coldest March in 50 years sees winter vomiting bug cases rise
Health Protection Agency figures show rise in first three weeks of MarchEaster travels might have helped infection to spread around the country
Some experts suggested that the Easter weekend could have increased the risk of the disease spreading as people travelled home to places where the number of reported cases was falling off.
Professor Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, told the Daily Telegraph: 'Normally at this point in the year we might expect the norovirus season to be coming towards an end – especially when it started so early – but it is called the winter vomiting bug for a reason, and we haven't seen much sign of spring.'
Research shows that cases of norovirus are most likely to spike in the week after a cold snap ends while the bug spreads easily with people staying indoors during the winter, when their immune systems are lowered by a lack of sunshine.
People are advised to thoroughly wash their hands to avoid catching and spreading the infection
People are advised to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water to try to avoid catching the bug and to drink lots of fluids if they become ill.
Government advice says norovirus sufferers should stay at home to avoid spreading the infection and remember they remain contagious for at least 48 hours after their symptoms have gone.
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the UK and you need exposure to only a small number of virus particles – between 10 and 100 – to catch the sickness compared with 10,000 particles to catch flu.