First Winter cases of Norovirus diagnosed in Cornwall

The first winter outbreak of the norovirus stomach bug has been reported in Cornwall. Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug that spreads among people easily, especially during the winter months. It can pass through direct contact with people who have the illness, or from touching contaminated objects or eating raw or undercooked food.

Norovirus symptoms

Symptoms of norovirus include:

  • Sickness
  • Stomach cramps
  • High temperature
  • Headaches
  • Aching limbs
  • Dehydration can be a problem in the very young or the elderly, which can require hospitalisation.

Treating norovirus

There is no specific treatment for norovirus, other than letting the illness run its course. Symptoms usually pass within two days.

Norovirus can cause problems in hospitals and care homes if it is brought in by visitors. An outbreak of norovirus in a hospital can:

  • Force operations to be cancelled
  • Delay recovery
  • Prevent new patient admissions
  • Worsen the condition of seriously ill patients

It is recommended that any outbreaks are reported in order to prevent the spread of the disease. With the aim of preventing an outbreak in hospitals, those who have contracted the illness are encouraged not to visit hospitals or care homes while they have the virus, and for at least 48 hours afterwards. The NHS instead recommends treating and containing the condition in the following ways:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Rest
  • Wash hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Don't handle or prepare food for others for 48 hours during and after the illness
  • Avoid contact with others for two to three days afterwards

If the symptoms of norovirus persist for more than two days, seek medical advice by calling the NHS helpline on 111. If you have additional concerns, visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk or your local pharmacist.

Norovirus and compensation

In some instances of norovirus outbreak in the past, compensation claims have been made. A cruise liner awarded compensation to passengers after curtailing the trip by one day due to a norovirus outbreak. Passengers were refunded the cost of the day's holiday.

In most cases norovirus illness will not entitle people to claim compensation, as it is very difficult to prove where the illness was contracted or if this was the fault of a third party. A cruise liner is a closed environment, yet even in this instance the compensation was not rewarded due to illness, but because the holiday was cut short.