Ick, ick, ick: Norovirus cases jump

Norovirus. Credit: GrahamColm at en.wikipedia.

It would be an understatement to say no one wants norovirus.

Unfortunately, for millions of people globally, they just don’t get that choice.

The virus, which causes diarrhea and vomiting, is on the rise in many areas of the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Taiwan, according to Huffington Post.

Other nations, including Japan and Australia also are reporting higher than usual rates of the virus, which can be transmitted via food, contaminated surfaces or contact with sick individuals.

Just how much has the infection rate jumped? Well, in the U.K. alone there have been more than 3,500 lab confirmed cases. That’s an 83 percent increase from last year, according to Food Safety News (FSN).

The actual numbers most likely are higher as most people don’t report their illness, FSN notes.

Some of the illnesses may be caused by a new strain, Sydney 2012, which began in Australia. Since its detection, it has spread to France, New Zealand, Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. The new strain doesn’t cause a more severe illness; rather its variation from other strains is a common occurrence, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Often, symptoms last only a few days but can lead to dehydration and complications for those with compromised immune systems, children and the elderly.

Roughly 1 in 15 Americans will suffer through norovirus each year, or approximately 20 million people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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