New figures: Number of diseases caused by noroviruses almost doubled
In the past few weeks, an unusually high spread of norovirus infections had been found in various regions of Germany. In Bavaria, the number of such infections has almost doubled since the beginning of October. The gastrointestinal infections cause severe symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Norovirus season starts exceptionally early
The vomiting diarrhea season, which occurs almost every year in the cold months, started much earlier this time. Health experts were surprised by the unexpectedly drastic start of the norovirus period in Germany. Noroviruses are easily transmitted and lead to gastrointestinal infections with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. There have been a particularly large number of illnesses in Bavaria in recent weeks.
Infections in Bavaria almost doubled
According to a report by the dpa news agency, almost twice as many people have been struggling with the norovirus in the Free State since early October as in the previous year. The Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) registered almost 2,600 cases up to and including last Sunday. In 2015 there were only around 1,300.
"The number of cases for norovirus diseases in the current season over the past five years is in the upper range," said a LGL spokesman, according to dpa. According to the information, there were most cases per inhabitant in Lower Bavaria and Upper Franconia, each with just under 20 diseases per 100,000 inhabitants.
According to LGL, the norovirus season in Bavaria started earlier than in previous years. "However, it is not possible to predict how the season will develop," said the spokesman.
Noroviruses are highly contagious. According to health experts, the disease usually breaks out quickly after infection, usually between six hours and two to a maximum of three days.
Because of the high infectiousness, the diseases are often found in community facilities such as kindergartens, schools, old people's and nursing homes and hospitals. Young children and the elderly are particularly badly affected.
Sick people are the main source of infection
“The most important source of infection is sick people who excrete the viruses with stool and vomit. Direct human-to-human transmission is the most common cause of outbreaks from norovirus infections, ”wrote the LGL on its website.
“Even poor hygiene when processing or preparing food can lead to contamination of food or beverages with noroviruses and thus to infections. A transmission through contaminated objects is also possible, ”it continues.
Even healthy people are still contagious
There are no medications available for the reportable gastrointestinal disease, only the symptoms can be treated. The complaints are usually over after one to three days, but those affected are still contagious for up to 48 hours afterwards, Bavaria's Minister of Health Melanie Huml (CSU) warned.
The best protection against gastrointestinal infections is regular and thorough hand washing.
In general, more attention should be paid to hygiene regulations. Contact with the sick should be avoided if possible. In the event of illness, it is important to drink a lot to compensate for the loss of fluid. (ad)