Norovirus Outbreaks

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Norovirusoutbreaks cause acute gastroenteritis to people across all ages. Thecondition is catalyzed by poor hygiene practices and crowded places.Most notable areas that are risky include schools and market places.Investigation on norovirus outbreaks reveals the complexity informulating appropriate control measure due to multiple modes oftransmission. The report explores the norovirus outbreaks on threecampuses, namely, California, Wisconsin, and Michigan in 2008. Theanalysis also examines the pathophysiology and epidemiology ofnorovirus outbreak, including the leassons learnt from the incidents.Compliance to basic hygiene practices and environmental disinfectionplay a critical role in reducing the norovirus outbreaks.

In2008, California, Wisconsin, and Michigan experienced norovirusoutbreaks. The viruses are known to be the leading causes of severegastroenteritis. The condition affects people across all ages andphysical characterisitics. Norovirus outbreaks occur in multiplesettings such as schools, cruise ship, and hospitals among others.The 2008 outbreak in the listed american campuses was first reportedby the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).The epidemic resulted in over one thousand cases of illnesses andtens of hospitalization. CDC recommended the closure of threeinstitutions to help in mitigating the spread of the disease. It isnotable that the sickness can spread rapidly in institutions leadingto high number of casualties.Publichealth officials conducted investigations to ascertain the scope ofthe outbreaks as well as develop better control strategies(NorovirusOutbreaks on Three College Campuses, 2009).

InCalifornia, several students visited the student’s health centerwith signs of severe gastroenteritis and constant norovirusinfections. Public health officials examined samples of stoolspecimens as well as interviewed sick students to explore thelikelihood of infections. Site visits to dormitories, dining halls,and health centers helped in getting dependable information aboutgastrointestinal infections. Online surveys were also conducted toexamine the risk factors and students’ awareness. In Michigan, themedical clinic reported a trend where there were increased cases ofdiarrhea and vomiting among the students. Investigations by theMichiganDepartment of Community Health(MDCH) led to recommendation for disinfection procedure to otherlocal schools and medical facilities. Similarly, symptoms ofgastroenteritis were reported in Wisconsin around the similar period.Campus health officials collaborated with State’s Health Departmentto investigate the matter. The institution enhanced surveillance bysending emails to students and parents about the (NorovirusOutbreaks on Three College Campuses, 2009).

Victimswith severe gastroenteritis reported signs such as diarrhea,headache, vomiting, and nausea(Barclayet al., 2013). Fever and body aches also characterize the condition. The infectioncan take place through foodborne or person-to-person transmission,especially in large gatherings. Norovirus is known to have manyfeatures that jeopardize interventions as well as facilitateinfections. The complexity is also experienced due to environmentalstability of virus and lengthy asymptomatic shedding. As part ofcontrol strategies, the officials placed alcohol-based sanitizers instrategic places such as cafeterias and classrooms within theinstitution. Public health officials propose adherence to proper handwashing hygiene to minimize the transmission of infections(Norovirus,2016).Further,institutions need to observe appropriate hygiene in the dormitoriesand dining facilities. As such, regular cleaning and disinfectionusing bleach solution is recommended. Awareness on hand washing andcleaning is an important initiative that can help reduce transmissionof gastroenteritis infections. The US Environmental Protection Agencyapproved cleaning agents for norovirus. All public restrooms needproper cleaning, with the provision of strategic water points(Preventingnorovirus infection, 2016).

Thethree outbreaks reflect that areas that institutions provide goodground for increased transmission. Schools, for instance, havemultiple shared areas and facilities such as dormitories andcafeterias. Norovirus outbreaks are catalyzed by bothperson-to-person and fomite transmission. Health officials recommendbetter cleaning of shared facilities as well as awareness on the needto observe personal hygiene. We learn that institutions of learningneed to have accessible health care services to prevent high spreadof avoidable diseases. Victims should also report symptoms of thedisease to healthcare givers for appropriate interventions. Increasedawareness can help in facilitating outbreak reporting (U.S.trends and outbreaks,2016). During institutional epidemics, it is advisable to cancelcampus activities to help in breaking the transmission cycle.Institutional closure has seen reduced rates of transmission.Technological advancements provide better communication platformssuch as email and mobile phones that enhance awareness. It is alsoimportant for the public to avoid sharing personal items such asplates, toothbrushes, and linens (Norovirus,2016).

Personalhygiene is the primary initiative to reducing the transmission rates.Individuals with signs such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting need toseek medical care since the symptoms appear consistent with norovirusinfections. Disinfecting common areas such as bathrooms and dininghalls also help in managing the condition. However, it is oftendifficult to ascertain the source and target due to multiple routesthat transmit the infection. Foodborne transmission and unhygienicpractices are the common routes although the three cases mentionedabove did not directly link the infection to the said causes. Assuch, precautionary measures are necessary to mitigate future(NorovirusOutbreaks on Three College Campuses, 2009).

Inconclusion, norovirus infections are complex to understand due tomultiple risk factors. The infections generate symptoms such asdiarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. People living in crowdedareas or in places with shared facilities need to take precautionaryand control measures. The situations in such areas catalyze theoccurrence of the infections. As such, better personal hygiene andenvironmental disinfection are among the control approaches to reducethe occurrence of norovirus infections.


Barclay,L., Wikswo, M., Gregoricus, N., Vinjé, J., Lopman, B., Parashar, U.,&amp Hall, A. (2013, Jan25).Notes from the field: Emergence of new Norovirus Strain GII.4 Sydney— United States, 2012. Morbidityand Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).Web. Retrieved on Aug 22 from

Norovirusoutbreaks on three college campuses — California, Michigan, andWisconsin, 2008,(2009). Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention.Web. Retrieved on August 22, 2016, from

Norovirus.(2016). Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention. RetrievedAugust 22, 2016, from

Preventingnorovirus infection.(2016). NationalCenter for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.Retrieved August 22, 2016, from

U.S.trends and outbreaks,(2016). NationalCenter for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.Retrieved August 22, 2016, from

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