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Norovirus cases still unusually high

30th March 2010

Data released by the Health Protection Agency has revealed that cases of norovirus in the UK this winter have reached a record breaking high.

norovirus

Although the number of cases has decreased since they peaked in January, the amount of people who caught the vomiting bug was still almost 50% more than in March 2009.

In the first 21 days of February 152 hospital wards were closed or admissions restricted because of the bug.

Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, said it was "a bit of a puzzle" why the number of cases had increased so much, but added that there were a few possible factors that might have caused the increase.

"This virus is already very good at transmitting from person to person, and it might have become even better at getting about. If so, this would have produced many more cases, although it doesn't mean that each case is any more serious", he said.

He added that the cold winter could have caused people to stay inside more and helped to spread the bug.

The HPA said they did not know the exact number of cases, but estimated that the virus affected between 600,000 and one million people in the UK every year.

 

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