Drop in winter vomiting bug cases

Drop in level of norovirus winter vomiting bug cases

The virus could cause vomiting and diarrhoea

Levels of the winter vomiting bug norovirus have gone down for a second week, latest figures show.

But experts say the 32% drop seen within the rate of confirmed new cases during the last week alone in England and Wales doesn’t mean the issue has gone away.

Infection rates always fluctuate and cases could easily rise again, says the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

This season, a brand new strain called Sydney 2012, is answerable for most cases.

This strain of the virus was first seen in Australia, where the norovirus season is lasting longer than usual as outbreaks continue into their summer.

Experts are watching international patterns closely but can’t be sure what’s going to happen next within the UK.

The variety of new cases are up 56% at the number reported this time last year, and the entire lab-confirmed toll now stands at 4,407.

For each confirmed new case experts estimate an additional 288 cases tend to go unreported.

Hospital outbreaks

John Harris, a professional in norovirus on the HPA, said: “Norovirus activity always varies from year to year and although we’d have expected cases to rise again we have passed the hot year period this hasn’t been the case.

“We won’t read anything into q4 and do not know the way busy the remainder of the season might be.

“The busiest months are normally from December to April, so further cases will occur but we won’t say if there’ll be further significant increases within the variety of laboratory reports.”

During the 2 weeks as much as 13 January 2013 there have been 39 hospital outbreaks reported, in comparison to 33 within the previous fortnight, bringing the complete of outbreaks for the season to 728.

The highly contagious virus may be spread by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, contact with someone who has the infection or through contaminated food and water.

Experts advise anyone who thinks they might have the virus to remain faraway from hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes to bypass spreading it to those that could be vulnerable.

The illness usually resolves in several days without a long-term effects.