Norovirus outbreak confirmed in Kochi school, health dept initiates containment measures

Photo credit : Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock

Kochi: The Norovirus was detected in several students of a private school here on Monday.

The disease was confirmed in students of a private school in Kakkanad after they exhibited symptoms like vomiting and diarrhoea. Samples were sent to the State Public Lab after 62 students, belonging to Class 1 and Class 2, and some parents showed symptoms of infection. Two of the samples tested positive, according to a statement issued by the district medical officer (DMO) on Monday. Three children are undergoing treatment. The DMO said there is nothing alarming in their condition.

The school has declared a holiday for classes 1 to 5 following the outbreak.

The district administration has initiated preventive and awareness measures in the wake of the virus outbreak. Awareness classes were being held online. Classrooms and toilets in the school were disinfected. Those showing symptoms have been advised to be under observation.

The authorities have urged the public to be cautious and ensure that the drinking water sources are clean. The disease could be cured within a short period with proper treatment and precaution, the DMO statement said.

What's Norovirus and how does it spread?
Norovirus is a contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Less common symptoms include low-grade fever or chills, headache, and muscle aches. The virus usually does not affect healthy people but it may cause serious health issues to small children, elderly and people with co-morbidities.

It can spread through polluted water and food. Direct interaction with infected people would also cause spread of the disease. The virus can also be transmitted through the faeces and vomit of infected people.

What to do if infected?
Infected people ae advised to take rest at home as directed by a doctor. They should consume plenty of boiled water and ORS (oral rehydration salts). A doctor's service should be sought if required. An infected person should go out only two days after being cured as the virus may spread during that period.

The DMO has advised the public to:
1. Wash hands using soap before having food and after going to toilet.
2. Be careful while interacting with animals.
3. Chlorinate drinking water sources and water tanks using bleaching powder.
4. Use only chlorinated water for domestic purposes.
5. Drink only boiled water.
6. Wash fruits and vegetables well before use.
7. Do not consume stale food and food items kept open.
8. Cook seafood like fish, crab and clams well.

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