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Unusually high prevalence of norovirus infections


Increases norovirus infections before the start of the high season
The number of norovirus infections is currently unusually high in Lower Saxony, according to the Lower Saxony State Health Office (NLGA). Major outbreaks have been reported from several counties and the norovirus season has only just begun.

"The number of reported norovirus infections has increased compared to previous years and rose unusually early in the norovirus season," reports the State Health Office. Although the number of reports in the last weekly report declined slightly, this should not be seen as a relaxation signal for the general norovirus situation at the moment. "It can be assumed that the number of cases will increase again in the next few weeks," warn the experts.

Several counties with major outbreaks
According to the "NDR", increased norovirus infections have recently occurred in the district of L√ľneburg and in the districts of Harburg and Stade. In the Harburg district, the virus was found in five day care centers, a primary school and a nursing home. The municipalities Seevetal and Buchholz are more affected. The NLGA weekly report also shows the unusually high number of norovirus infections in Lower Saxony.

Increased occurrence in community facilities
The weekly report shows the current situation of norovirus and rotavirus infections, both of which can lead to severe gastrointestinal complaints with sometimes violent vomiting and severe diarrhea, reports the NLGA. Because of the high infectiousness (smear infection), the diseases are mostly common in community facilities such as kindergartens, schools, old people's and nursing homes and hospitals.

Low level rotavirus infections
Rotavirus infections are still at a very low level in the expected range of the previous year's figures, according to the NLGA. In contrast, the number of transmitted norovirus infections compared to previous years was still high and rose unusually early in the norovirus season. In the laboratory of the NLGA, more gastroenteritis outbreaks have recently been investigated than in the previous weeks and "in five out of twelve gastroenteritis outbreaks, noroviruses were identified as causative agents", reports the NLGA.

A further increase in norovirus infections is expected
In the coming weeks, the experts expect a further increase in norovirus infections, since the main season of the pathogens is in the winter months. In view of the high risk of infection, particular care should be taken when dealing with sick people when it comes to hygiene. Sick people are advised to go to bed in the acute phase of the illness and contact with other people should be restricted as far as possible up to 48 hours after the illness has subsided. This applies in particular to people in community facilities and to employees in the food sector, according to the NLGA.

A special therapy against norovirus infections is not available, but healing can be supported by physical protection and, above all, adequate hydration. (fp)

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