154 outbreaks in 5 weeks warn PHE
A warning has been issued by Public Health England (PHE) that levels of norovirus – the so-called “winter vomiting bug” are rapidly accelerating beyond pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent report on the Food Safety News website.
154 instances of the illness have been reported over the last 5 weeks, says the article – which is a cause for concern when an average of 53 cases for the same period over the last five years were recorded.
This level is “…far more than would be expected in summer months across all age groups and settings in England.”
Preschool and nursery facilities particularly at risk
Early years educational settings have been particularly hit, according to the report, which quotes a deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE. Professor Saheer Gharbia said
“As with COVID-19, handwashing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, unlike for COVID-19 alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so soap and water is best.”
Gels replaced by soap and water in Australian schools
A similarly worrying rise was noted in New South Wales, Australia, when soap and water hand washing had been largely pushed aside for the sanitiser alternative. This is a situation that has since, of course, been rectified.
Dr Bruce Bolam, Victoria’s executive director for communicable disease, responded at the time by offering advice regarding effective hand hygiene.
“A good old-fashioned scrub with soap and warm water is the best way to remove the gastro virus from our hands and prevent passing it on to infect others.”
Let’s keep washing those hands everyone…
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