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L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

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Winter vomiting bug warning

20 December 2013

Islanders and businesses in Jersey have been urged to play their part in stopping the spread of norovirus over the festive season.

There had been cases of the virus had been in both Jersey and the UK during the early weeks of winter, Dr Ivan Muscat, Consultant Microbiologist at Jersey General Hospital warned.

“The numbers are currently significantly lower than last winter, but we are nevertheless reminding people about appropriate measures to reduce the spread of norovirus,” he said.

Norovirus symptoms

Symptoms of norovirus, which include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and vomiting, usually clear up naturally within 48 to 72 hours but the very young, the very old and those with underlying medical conditions could be more seriously ill.

Anyone whose symptoms last more than 72 hours, or who is worried that their symptoms might reflect another condition, or who is worried about any of the signs of dehydration (thirst, light-headedness, headache, tiredness, dry mouth, dark urine, small amounts of urine) should contact their GP in the first instance.

If you have the symptoms, you should:

  • rest at home
  • stay hydrated
  • take paracetamol appropriately

Stopping norovirus spreading

Although it is rarely serious, norovirus can spread rapidly, particularly in institutions. To avoid contagion, anyone with the symptoms should avoid visiting the Hospital, other institutions and food outlets.

Workers in catering and in health establishments should not return to work for 48 hours after the symptoms have ended, and supervisors are asked to take extra care to ensure their staff are not unwell.

Even if there are no known cases of novovirus in an area or institution, sensible precautions are still being urged, including:

  • increased hand hygiene with soap and water (alcohol gels are not reliably effective against norovirus)
  • increased hygiene in food preparation / handling sites
  • increased hygiene toilet areas, using chlorine-based agents if at all possible
  • prompt cleaning of spills using chlorine-based agents if possible

Dr Muscat said “Adopting these very straightforward measures should help reduce the burden of illness, in spite of the normal increase in social and family gatherings during this period, and will promote a healthier Christmas and New Year.”

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