HSE warns over rise in Norovirus cases

There have been 80 recorded cases of norovirus in the first 10 weeks of 2023 in the region of Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan and North Dublin and over 390 cases in the same period nationwide.

This is almost four times the number of cases recorded in the first 10 weeks of 2022 (109).

As a result the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is asking people to be aware of the symptoms of condition.

Norovirus, also known as winter vomiting bug, is an easily spread virus that causes sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Young children and elderly people have been the most affected with half of cases (50%) aged over 65 years and (28%) of cases aged under 5 years.

Dr Paul McKeown, HPSC consultant in public health medicine, HSE warned over the spread of the illness.

He said “norovirus is very easily spread between people, but it also lasts for a long time on surfaces, and if you touch a surface contaminated with norovirus and then touch your mouth, this can make you sick. Cleaning your hands with soap and water is the best protection against catching norovirus and it is important to note that alcohol hand gels do not work against the virus."

He also gave advice for those who believe they may have contracted the bug.

“People who are ill with norovirus should stay at home and not go to work, or school, and they should not visit nursing homes or hospitals until 48 hours after their symptoms have gone. Do not visit your GP’s surgery without phoning ahead first."

The public are being urged to visit the HSE website to find out more about the norovirus. In addition, new guidance on managing norovirus in residential care settings has been published by the HPSC here.