Norovirus is an open, single-stranded RNA virus that causes gastroenteritis. It is highly contagious and is characterized by vomiting, and diarrhea. The virus infection usually peaks in winter and also affects people living in Michigan, as well as those living in other states such as Ohio and New York City.
As winter approaches, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) had warned its residents to take adequate precautions to stay health, as it has identified increases in the activity of norovirus, recently.
Norovirus belongs to the family Caliciviridae, and is a human enteric pathogen that is highly contagious and can cause significant morbidity across the community and healthcare settings. The virus is also known, previously as Norwalk virus. It was first identified in a stool specimen collected in Norwalk during an outbreak of gastroenteritis. Norovirus is prevalent during the winter and was shown to be the first virus associated with gastroenteritis.
Symptoms of Norovirus in Michigan
Noroviruses usually presents two major symptoms, which are
- Diarrhea, and
However, in some occasions, the symptoms may go beyond diarrhea and vomiting to include,
- Stomach pains
Transmission of Noroviruses
Norovirus can be transmitted by getting in with an infected person, especially if a tiny particle from the person’s feces or vomits enters, by mistake, into your mouth.
Also, you can contact the virus by sharing a food with an infected person, or by caring for a norovirus patient.
If by chance you touch an infected person and, without washing your hands, put a finger on your lips, you may become infected as well.
How would you know it’s Norovirus?
The only way to confirm if you’re being infected with Norovirus is by going for lab test. The latency period for norovirus is between 12 to 48 hours. This means that you may be infected without knowing it. So when you come into contact an infected person, quickly wash your hands and body, and then contact your doctor.
How do you treat Norovirus infection?
There is basically no treatment for the virus. You just have to allow it run its course; meanwhile you would be better off if your immunity is strong. This would shorten the time the infection would last. Also, you may take some antiviral drugs or home remedies with antiviral propensity, to boost your immunity.
As winter comes fast, you should be better prepared by taking immune boosting nutraceuticals, multivitamins or some home remedies. Be at alert when you see someone vomiting or frequenting the toilet. It may not be norovirus case; however, being careful is worth your safety. When your loved ones are down with it, always wash with disinfectant immediately after attending to their needs.
Robilotti, E., Deresinski, S., & Pinsky, B. A. (2015). Norovirus. Clinical microbiology reviews, 28(1), 134–164. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.00075-14
Lucero, Y., Matson, D. O., Ashkenazi, S., George, S., & O’Ryan, M. (2021). Norovirus: Facts and Reflections from Past, Present, and Future. Viruses, 13(12), 2399. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13122399.