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Norovirus

Norovirus, also called small round structured virus (SRSV) or
Norwalk-like virus (NLV) is a common source of gastro-enteritis. The illness caused is often known as ‘winter vomiting disease’. Although it is true that there is an increase in winter
months, unfortunately, cases do occur in all seasons.
In most cases no specific treatment is required, but it is sensible to drink plenty of clear fluids (i.e. water) as soon
as the vomiting starts in order to avoid dehydration.

Contact Us

Nurse Consultant
Deputy Director of Infection Prevention and Control

Moseley Hall Hospital

Telephone: 0121 466 6550

Q&A

The illness characteristically starts with the sudden onset of severe and dramatic vomiting. This can occur with such force that it is termed ‘projectile’. Some people also develop diarrhoea.

Norovirus is highly infectious. Spread can occur through lapses in basic hygiene, for example: Not washing hands after using the toilet, Being exposed to the virus or the vomit of someone who has the virus, Contact with surfaces, e.g. furniture or other people’s hands that have the virus on them. Contaminated food Infection can spread very easily in areas where there are large numbers of
people, for example; in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, hotels and cruise ships. People remain infectious for up to forty eight hours after symptoms have ceased.

Because the illness characteristically starts with the sudden onset of severe and dramatic vomiting. This can occur with such force that it is termed ‘projectile’. Some people also develop diarrhoea. 1. Good hand washing with liquid soap and water is the key to the prevention of Norovirus infection. 2. Everyone should regularly wash and dry their hands, especially: Before:- • Preparing or serving food • Eating meals
After:- • Contact with a sick person and their surroundings, i.e. room, bedding, clothing and equipment • Going to the toilet and/or assisting a
sick person going to the toilet leaving the area where a person has vomited or had diarrhoea.

If a large number of patients are affected we may need to close the unit and restrict visiting. Visitors should request permission to visit from the nurse-in-charge. Please note: If you are visiting an affected area you are at risk of catching the infection and of spreading it to other people. Please do not visit patients if you or other members of your household have had diarrhoea and/or vomiting within the past forty eight hours. Remember these main points: • Norovirus causes diarrhoea and vomiting • It spreads easily (similar to the common cold) • It is rarely serious but symptoms will last for twelve to sixty hours • Hand washing and isolation is the key to the prevention of infection • The virus can remain active for several days on floors and surfaces. Vomit or diarrhoea must be cleaned up immediately Infection Prevention and Control Team Advice to Patients.