May, 26

    Covid circumstances are down. Sadly, abdomen flu outbreaks are up.

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    As Covid-19 circumstances proceed to fall in the US, circumstances of one other virus are rebounding to pre-pandemic ranges.

    Outbreaks of norovirus, the bug answerable for the dreaded abdomen flu, have been on the rise since January, in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

    From August 2021 by way of the start of final month, the CDC reported 448 norovirus outbreaks. Throughout the identical time interval the earlier yr, simply 78 have been reported.

    Since early January, the variety of weekly outbreaks has risen from fewer than 10 to greater than 50. The information relies on stories from state well being departments in Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    There is no information to recommend that the norovirus outbreaks are in any manner linked to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

    However it might be attainable that the lifting of Covid restrictions helps the virus unfold. Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, is extremely contagious and spreads from individual to individual by way of surfaces.

    Dr. Robert Atmar, a professor of medication and infectious illnesses skilled at Baylor Faculty of Medication in Houston, mentioned he suspects the rise in outbreaks could also be a mirrored image of loosened Covid mitigation methods nationwide.

    Masking, for instance, is now not required in most areas of the nation. And whereas norovirus isn’t unfold by respiratory droplets, the rise in circumstances may replicate a leisure of an infection management generally.

    Unfold of norovirus is very irksome, as a result of it’s attainable to unfold billions of microscopic norovirus particles on surfaces and thru contaminated meals or water. It takes just some of these particles to make somebody sick.

    “The focus of virus in stool samples is fairly excessive, so it doesn’t take a lot microscopic contamination to contaminate folks,” Atmar mentioned.

    Outbreaks are typically extra widespread in areas the place folks congregate in shut quarters, comparable to cruise ships or day care facilities.

    The easiest way to keep away from norovirus is with good old style hand hygiene, he mentioned. That’s, washing your fingers vigorously with cleaning soap and water for about 20 seconds after utilizing the toilet and earlier than getting ready meals.

    On the subject of cleansing surfaces, a diluted bleach answer is greatest for decontaminating affected areas, he added.

    Comply with NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Fb.

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