Vancouver – Norovirus season has begun early this year with the arrival of a new strain.
Since October 2012 there have been higher than expected requests for gastroenteritis (stomach-related virus) outbreak laboratory testing as well as higher norovirus positive test results when compared to this time in 2011. This has been observed not only in BC but worldwide.
A report from the Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory on norovirus including the new strain is summarized in the latest issue of Laboratory Trends.
The main symptoms of norovirus include sudden onset of nausea, cramping, chills, fever, vomiting and diarrhea that usually last for one to two days.
Norovirus is very contagious so if you think you have it, stay home from work or school, especially if you are in settings like child care, health care and food handling. Clean up any vomit or diarrhea spills with a bleach solution.
The best ways to prevent the spread of norovirus are to clean your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly before eating or preparing shared food, and to stay home when sick.
Worldwide, there are waves of norovirus outbreaks. A new strain emerges every few years which leads to increased infections until people develop immunity.
The Public Health Microbiology and Reference Laboratory, part of the Provincial Health Services Authority, provides specialized services and integrated core functions province-wide for communicable disease detection, surveillance outbreak investigation and emergency response. The laboratory is located at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Provincial Infection Control Network www.picnetbc.ca
Get the latest BCCDC health alerts and news delivered straight to your in-box.
Subscribe today at www.bccdc.ca/resources/news-alerts/default.htm
To arrange a media interview:
Media pager: 604-871-5699