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One million now affected by winter vomiting bug – and cases are set to soar well into the New Year
Number of norovirus cases up by 83 per cent on this time last yearToll is expected to rise, says the Health Protection AgencyThe number of cases has risen earlier
than expected this year, following a trend seen across Europe
10:26 GMT, 29 December 2012
The winter vomiting bug has claimed another 141,000 victims in the last week, pushing the annual total up to more than 1.1million.
Health officials said the number of confirmed cases of norovirus was more than double the level for this time last year – and the toll is expected to rise again.
Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency show there were 3,538 confirmed cases before the 492 new ones from last week.
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The number of confirmed cases of norovirus is up by 83 per cent on this time last year, and the toll is expected to rise
The total of 4,030 is more than twice the 1,934 cases at this time last year. But this is only a fraction of the true total as most sufferers do not visit their GP.
HPA officials estimate there are 288 victims in the community for every confirmed case. This suggests that approximately 1.15million adults and children have been hit by the virus.
HOW TO AVOID NOROVIRUS
your hands at least five times a day with soap and water. You should do
it for the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice – or for 20
If someone in your family gets it, protect everyone else by cleaning your bathroom with bleach-based cleaners
Avoid food prepared by anyone who has had the virus within the last 48 hours
Scrub your kitchen with bleach-based cleaning fluids
you think you have it, do NOT visit your GP surgery or local A&E
Unit. Norovirus is a self-limiting illness and you will recover
naturally without treatment. It is, however, important to take plenty of
drinks to replace lost fluids.
But this is likely to be only a fraction of the true
The agency said that in the two weeks to December 23 there were also 70 reported hospital outbreaks, compared with 61 in the previous fortnight.
That brought the number of outbreaks for the season to 538, forcing many wards to close to prevent the illness spreading.
The number of cases has risen earlier than expected this year, following a trend seen across Europe and other parts of the world which has unknown causes.
In Australia, outbreaks began earlier than usual during the winter and have persisted into their summer. John Harris, an HPA norovirus expert, said: ‘The number of laboratory-confirmed cases has risen once again as it appears that we have seen the rise that usually begins in January start a little earlier than we expect.
‘Norovirus is very contagious and very unpleasant. To help prevent spread, it’s important that people who believe they are unwell maintain good hand hygiene and stay away from hospitals, schools and care homes, as these closed environments are prone to outbreaks which can cause severe disruption.’
Symptoms include a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea, often with headache, raised temperature and stomach cramps.
The illness usually resolves itself in one or two days in otherwise healthy people.
The number of cases has risen earlier than expected this year, following a trend seen across Europe and other parts of the world
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