CPS alerts health care providers on NorovirusPOSTED: 01/25/13 12:33 PM
St. Maarten – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), has distributed Pan American Health Organization’s (PAHO) epidemiological alert to local health care providers on the need to be vigilant in curbing any possible norovirus outbreak in institutional health care and community settings.
Paho calls for member states to implement prevention and control in health care and gated communities to reduce the impact caused by norovirus outbreaks.
Norovirus gastroenteritis is a common disease worldwide affecting all age groups and often causing outbreaks.
The norovirus occurs in mild to moderate forms, often in outbreaks with clinical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, myalgia, headache, malaise, fever, or a combination of several of these symptoms.
The virus incubation period ranges from 24 to 48 hours. It is transmitted by the fecal-oral route although it is possible to transmit by contact or through the air from an infected person’s fomites. Transmission has also been documented through food, water and shellfish.
The disease can be severe especially in the elderly, young children and immune-compromised persons. Since there is no vaccine, prevention is based primarily on measures of personal and community hygiene.
Minister of Public Health Cornelius de Weever’s, ‘Get Checked’ campaign, is in line with PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations of promoting proper hand washing hygiene with soap and water by health personnel, patients and visitors wherever you go especially at health care institutions.
PAHO recommendations to public health authorities in the Americas are to implement and maintain an early warning system at the hospital and community care levels for the early detection of gastroenteritis outbreaks and to determine the causal agent.
In addition, for public health authorities to carry out rapid outbreak investigations, in order to identify and document the transmission mode and potential sources to guide the implementation of effective response measures.