Norovirus: The perfect human pathogen (New Scientist article)

Some quotes from the New Scientist article:

"Norovirus hit the headlines in the UK this winter when a million people caught it in just a couple of months."

"For the very young and very old, or people with weakened immune systems, the disease can cause more than misery. It hospitalises 70,000 people each year in the US and kills about 800."

"Exposure to as few as 18 virus particles can lead to infection, compared with upwards of 1000 for flu."

"...even with strict hygiene it is difficult to stop the virus spreading"

"...the virus is very tough: it can withstand many chemical detergents, heat up to 60 °C, freezing, and it survives on surfaces like doorknobs and tablecloths for as long as two weeks."

The article goes on to describe progress in developing norovirus vaccines, but for the moment, the best advice on how to reduce your risk of infection is to "keep your hands clean by washing with old-fashioned soap and running water."

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Neil

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  • Hi I know someone "healthy" who caught this before Christmas, then because she was weak caught flu and was ill for 6 wks then caught another virus. So she was ill for about 3 mths all in all and she has nothing wrong with her immune system. So washing hands as much as possible does sound good advice.

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