Methods To Protect Yourself And Family From Norovirus Outbreak

Methods To Protect Yourself And Family From Norovirus Outbreak

Methods To Protect Yourself And Family From Norovirus Outbreak

Methods To Protect Yourself And Family From Norovirus Outbreak

In a new study, researchers employed some fairly complicated math to find a pretty simple answer to that question: Wash your hands. “When your mother told you to always wash your hands before coming to the dinner table … she was right,” study lead author Sherry Towers, a professor at Arizona State University’s Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center, said in a statement.

What’s Norovirus

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Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. It can spread from person to person — for example, by shaking hands, or caring for someone who is sick — or by eating contaminated food or touching contaminated surfaces.

To better understand these outbreaks and how to prevent them, the researchers created a mathematical model of a norovirus outbreak using data from a cruise ship outbreak in 2002 that sickened more than 400 passengers and crew on two consecutive cruises.

First, the researchers calculated the “reproduction number,” or the average number of people infected by a single sick person in a susceptible population.
They found that, for this outbreak, the reproduction number was 7.2. That’s fairly high; for comparison, the reproduction number for seasonal flu is about 1.3, according to a 2014 review study.

In the new study, most of the transmission occurred from person to person, rather than through contact with the environment, the researchers said. In addition, about 30 percent of infected passengers didn’t show symptoms, meaning they could spread the illness without appearing sick. This high proportion of asymptomatic people means that measures such as self-quarantine aren’t always effective at stopping an outbreak, the researchers said.

In addition, because the virus is so hardy, it’s difficult to kill on surfaces, and it takes only a few virus particles to make you sick, Towers said. The researchers estimated that rigorous environmental cleaning would reduce the size of a norovirus outbreak by 60 percent at the most. But rigorous handwashing, on the other hand, could, theoretically, reduce the size of the outbreak by 100 percent, meaning it could entirely prevent an outbreak, the researchers found.

Towers recommended that people scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water before eating and after using the bathroom or touching a potentially contaminated surface. The study was published online (March 6) in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Now let looks at various easy methods to protect yourself and family from Norovirus Outbreak, which are:

1. Always Wash your hands

It sounds simple because it is. Frequent handwashing is perhaps the best way to prevent norovirus — especially if you spend time in one of those crowded settings. Work up a good lather with soap, and wash for at least 20 seconds.

Avoid contact with anyone who’s recently had vomiting and diarrhea if you can. But “that’s not 100 percent effective because occasionally you’ll be around people who don’t have symptoms yet,” Dr. Sabella says.

2. Keep your hands away from your face

This mean you should consciously avoid touching your face.

Why? If you have come into contact with the virus, touching your mouth, nose or eyes before you get a chance to wash your hands makes it easier for the virus to enter your body. “The main sources of transmission are contaminated foods and person-to-person contact. That means wiping a doorknob isn’t going to be as effective as your absolute best prevention tip: Wash your hands.”

3. Practice food safety at home

Remember tip No. 1 about hand washing? It is especially important in the kitchen because norovirus spreads by ingestion. As you prepare food, wash your hands frequently — especially right before serving anything to others. Also, if you have symptoms or know you are sick, stay out of the kitchen and avoid spreading the virus to others.

4. Use appropriate cleaning methods

Someone who is infected with norovirus might be asymptomatic for several days, noted by the researcher. That means you can’t always keep it out of your house — and norovirus is difficult to contain once it has entered your house. Still, you can take steps to clean up and prevent its spread. For example, focus on scrubbing any commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs and counter tops. Just remember — the main sources of transmission are contaminated foods and person-to-person contact.