Mangaluru, Nov 17: The district administrations of Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu have sounded high alert following the reports of Norovirus cases in Kerala’s Wayanad.
The Norovirus infection was reported among 13 students of a veterinary college in Wayanad district and at least a dozen more are said to have been showing the symptoms.
The district administrations of Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada, which share a border with Kerala, have instructed the field surveillance staff to safeguard water sources shared at a community level like community wells. Consuming drinking water disinfected with chlorine has been advised.
Kodagu administration acknowledged the disease it is highly contagious but the Dakshina Kannada administration said pre-emptive screening was not possible unless people show symptoms like nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. The district administrations have also advised the students not to eat stale food from hotels around college campuses.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with Norovirus. One can get Norovirus from having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or from touching contaminated surfaces and then putting one’s unwashed hands in one’s mouth.
Dakshina Kannada District Health Officer Dr Kishore Kumar said, “It’s a zoonotic virus and can spread through contaminated food. If anyone has symptoms similar to gastroenteritis like stomach pain and diarrhea, their family members at home are most likely to be infected too as Norovirus spreads through touch of unwashed hands.
Dr Venkatesh R, District Health Officer, Kodagu, said, “It mainly comes from stale food and contaminated water. We can treat stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting. We will be chlorinating water regularly as ours is a border district. Norovirus is rare but is highly contagious and the infected students in Kerala were living outside the college hostel. NIV Alappuzha confirmed it.
If we find any symptoms like fever and stomach pain we will test people here. We will be shortly issuing a circular asking people drink only lukewarm water. We need to give instructions to hotels to serve only freshly cooked food. Many visitors from Wayanad mostly go to Mysuru.”
Dr K H Prasad, District Health officer, Mysuru, said, “Bavali in HD Kote is the only check-post between Wayanad and Mysuru. Every day up to 200 vehicles take this route. We will be doing temperature surveillance of visitors to see if they’re feverish. We also screen Wayanad visitors coming in from Chamarajanagar’s Gundlupet to Mysuru’s tourist attractions.”