Please click the frequently asked questions below for further information and IPC precautions required:
What is Norovirus?
Noroviruses are non-enveloped viruses that belong to the Caliciviridae group of viruses and are a frequent cause of infectious gastroenteritis. The group was previously known as ‘Small Round Structured Virus’ or SRSV.
Outbreaks are common in environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships. People of all ages are at risk of developing norovirus. Norovirus infections in a hospital/Care Home can be very disruptive, as wards/sections of the care home may need to be closed to new admissions in order to prevent the spread of infection.
Why is this information important?
If NIAS staff are aware that the patient has a suspected or confirmed case this should be communicated to the Control Room (Emergency or Non-emergency as appropriate) and the staff in the receiving unit when transferring the patient to ensure effective patient care and management.
How is it spread?
Humans are the only known carriers of norovirus. It cannot be caught from animals, although some food, e.g. shellfish, may be contaminated. Norovirus is very infectious and transmits:
- following close contact with an infected person when they are symptomatic with diarrhoea and/or vomiting
- by eating undercooked shellfish that may have been sourced from polluted waters
- from food contaminated with the virus
- by touching contaminated surfaces and not washing hands with liquid soap and water
What are the symptoms of Norovirus?
Symptoms of infection generally last for approximately 12-48 hours and may include:
- abdominal cramps
- sudden onset of forceful vomiting – often projectile vomiting
- diarrhoea/loose bowel motions
- raised temperature/feeling flushed
- myalgia/general tiredness and feeling ‘unwell’
- Contact precautions should be used
- Hand Hygiene should be completed as per the 5 moments in line with usual practice with Soap and Water
- Eye protection should be risk assessed
- Gloves and Aprons should be worn.
- The patient should be transported via ambulance with no other patients present.
- Laundry should be treated as contaminated, placed into an alginate bag and placed into a red laundry bag.
What Cleaning is required?
All equipment and the ambulance should have an in-between patient clean paying particular attention to touch points.
Do staff need any prophylaxis or follow up?
If staff have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of Norovirus they should remain vigilant for any symptoms but there is no active follow up required.
If staff become symptomatic they should remain off work until 48 hours asymptomatic (72 hours if food handling).