Why is norovirus difficult to eradicate?
Norovirus is difficult to kill for several reasons, including:
- Robust survival capabilities: Norovirus has the ability to survive in various environments and withstand a wide range of temperatures. The virus has been shown to survive in freezing as well as high temperatures of up to 60°C.
- Highly contagious: Norovirus spreads quickly and only a small amount of the virus is needed to cause infection.
- Multiple modes of transmission: As outlined above, norovirus can be transmitted through various routes, including person-to-person contact, contaminated surfaces, and contaminated food.
- Genetic diversity: Norovirus evolves rapidly, with multiple strains and variants circulating simultaneously.
- Lack of long-term immunity: Recovering from a norovirus infection does not provide long-lasting immunity against future infections. People can be re-infected with different norovirus strains in a short space of time.
How long is norovirus contagious?
According to the guidance provided by the NHS, the period when norovirus is most contagious is from the onset of Norovirus symptoms until 48 hours after all symptoms have stopped. However, you can still be infectious for a brief period before and after this timeframe.
While the contagiousness of norovirus is most significant during this period, it’s worth noting that the virus can survive on surfaces for much longer. This highlights the importance of practising good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus.
By following proper hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing with soap and water and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, you can maintain a healthy environment and reduce the risk of infection.