New virus variants: Norovirus spreads rapidly throughout Germany

Breakthrough: More and more infections caused by new norovirus
Last autumn, an unusually high spread of norovirus infections had been reported. The trend continued in the new year. At the beginning of 2017 about twice as many people fell as in the previous year. According to experts, a new virus type is also responsible for the increase in the number of cases of illness.

Rapid spread
As early as last year, it became clear that the Norovirus is spreading more rapidly than in the previous years. Experts are now reporting that this is obviously related to a new virus variant. According to the Berlin Robert Koch Institute( RKI), this was also detected in sporadic infections as well as in outbreaks in nine Länder.

According to the most recent investigations, the strong spread of noroviruses this winter is associated with a new virus variant. Infected suffer from stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.(Image: JackF / fotolia.com)

New Norovirus variant detected
The experts had examined a total of 240 samples from 13 federal states from September to December last year.

The latest epidemiological bulletin of the RKI states: "In 240 investigated and genotyped specimens, a new emerging norovirus variant could be detected that has not previously been described in Germany in outbreaks or sporadic cases".

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    According to the data, a total of about 40 to 50 per cent of these were NorovirusDiseases to the new viral type GII.P16-GII.2.This has also occurred in other countries such as France, Finland, Russia, Australia, Japan and China.

    infection hits people surprisingly fast
    An infection with noroviruses meets people mostly surprisingly fast and violently. According to the Federal Center for Health Education( BZgA), the disease suddenly begins with violent diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

    This is often accompanied by a strong feeling of illness with muscle and abdominal pain, occasionally with slight fever and headaches.

    "The strong breakthroughs can quickly lead to a lack of fluid in the body, which can be characterized by a pronounced feeling of weakness or dizziness," writes the BZgA.The symptoms usually disappear completely after one to two days.

    Almost twice as many illnesses
    Even before Christmas, relatively high values ​​were observed every week with more than 5,000 cases reported nationwide.

    According to the current report, a total of 13,700 illnesses were registered in Germany in the first four weeks of 2017.This was almost twice as many as in the previous year. However, not all cases are reported.

    experts had long suspected that a new variant could be behind this development.

    The virus is not more dangerous than usual. "It can only better hide itself from the immune system, so that more people get sick," a RKI spokeswoman said recently, the news agency dpa. According to the Institute it is normal that the Norovirus in some years more occurs than in others.

    How to Protect
    Noroviruses are highly contagious. Therefore, most of the diseases are common in community institutions such as kindergartens, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Small children and seniors are particularly vulnerable.

    To prevent contamination, care must be taken especially to ensure hygiene. The most effective protection against infections is frequent and careful hand washing.

    Each towel should only be used by one person. In addition, surfaces in the household should be regularly cleaned and cleaning cloths used should be used only once.

    infected people should avoid crowds, stay at home and cure the disease.(ad)

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