Beware of the Noro virus

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Beware of the Noro virus: This year, a particularly large number of people are ill.
As "NDR 1 Welle Nord" reported on Tuesday, a particularly large number of people have contracted the so-called "Noro virus" this year. In Schleswig-Holstein alone, more than 3,700 people have consulted a doctor over the past few weeks because of the virus - with the typical symptoms such as cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, chills and headaches. According to the virologist Prof. Helmut Fickenscher from the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, a total of 131,628 cases have been registered since the beginning of the year, which means that the number of illnesses has increased significantly compared to the average values ​​of the past five years - so it did According to the professor, the epidemic was particularly severe, but is now receding.

In the Ministry of Social Affairs, however, there are no fears due to the declining development - which is supported by the fact that, according to the Berlin Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of current illnesses in the northernmost state of Germany would be within a completely normal range for this season. The Robert Koch Institute also confirms a general decline in the number of cases: While, according to its information, a little more than 42,000 illnesses were recorded in February, in March there were only just under 25,000 registered patients with Noro virus.

Accordingly, the highly contagious, very robust and existing Noro virus spreads particularly in winter. Noroviruses belong to the Caliciviridae family and trigger acute gastrointestinal diseases. The pathogens, which were named after the US city of Norwalk (Ohio) because of the first proof there, are four times smaller than flu viruses and consist only of a protein shell and genetic material. The infection occurs through people infected with the virus via a so-called contact or smear infection, i.e. the virus is excreted by the sick person via the stool or vomit and by residual traces on the hands, traces of stool or vomit e.g. to doorknobs, taps or toilet lids or contaminated food as well as by inhaling the aerosol produced by vomiting. Due to these contagion routes, thorough hand washing is an important protective measure. In addition, contact with people who are already ill should be avoided - for example if this However, within the family is not possible, it is advisable to give hygiene a special priority during this time:
Regular hand washing, careful cleaning or disinfection of the toilet and surfaces with which the sick person has come into contact, as well as separately used towels and soap and washing the clothes and bed linen of the person (s) at least at 60 ° C.

Even if there is still no vaccine against the virus, the disease is usually not life-threatening and the symptoms described in the beginning subside in most cases after 72 hours. However, since those affected lose an enormous amount of fluid during this time, the virus can be associated with risks for older people and children. Therefore, in any case - and not only for these risk groups - it is very important for a complete recovery to drink enough. (Sb, April 15, 2010)

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Video: Protect yourself and others against Norovirus

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