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Urgent warning as norovirus cases surge in schools – the 6 signs you need to know

CASES of norovirus are rising in England, new data has revealed.

Infections are up 16 per cent and medics have warned figures are slightly higher than the usual for this time of year.

The graph above shows how infections of norovirus have risen between September and October
The report states that between September 26 and October 9, there have been on average, 132 cases of norovirus

Figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) state there have been over 100 new cases reported.

However, in most instances, norovirus is a bug that can leave you vomiting and rushing to the toilet.

This means that many who have the illness may not have been tested, so in reality, cases could be much higher.

The report states that between September 26 and October 9, there have been on average, 132 cases of norovirus.

But it’s not yet clear what the figures are week on week and how much they have risen since then.

“Norovirus and rotavirus activity has increased in recent weeks.

“Although the number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks in care home and hospital settings remains lower than expected for this time of year, reports have returned to levels comparable with the 5-season average of the same period (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) in educational settings,” the report states.

It’s important to note that while outbreaks in schools have risen- they are back to what they were before the coronavirus pandemic.

This is while outbreaks in hospitals and care homes are still at lower levels.

Dr Richard Elson, Principal Epidemiologist, UK Health Security Agency, said: “Laboratory reports of norovirus are currently slightly higher than average for this time of year, so it is important to continue practicing good hygiene to prevent the spread.

“This includes thorough hand washing with warm water and soap regularly, especially after using the toilet or following illness and before eating or preparing food.

“Remember that alcohol hand sanitisers do not kill off norovirus.”

He added that if you catch norovirus it is important to drink plenty of fluids while unwell to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immunity. 

“Those experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting should not return to work or send unwell children to school until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared and ideally should also not prepare food for others during this time either.

“We advise people with symptoms to avoid visiting GP surgeries and hospitals, however if they are concerned they should talk to their GP by phone or contact NHS 111 or visit the NHS choices norovirus webpage,” he added.

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