According to the most recent CDC data, norovirus. It is an infection commonly caused by viral gastroenteritis in those in long-term care facilities and has steadily increased across the United States in recent months.
Between August 1, 2022, and January 8, 2023, 225 norovirus outbreaks were reported by the 14 states participating in the CDC’s NoroSTAT tracking program. According to the agency, this compares to 172 attacks reported during the previous season.
COVID-19 infection control measures likely prevented outbreaks of many infectious diseases, including norovirus, during the 2019-2020 respiratory illness season. According to CDC spokesperson Kate Grusich, the current increase in gastroenteritis appears to be a return to pre-pandemic levels.
“As pandemic restrictions have been lifted, the number of norovirus outbreaks has returned to pre-pandemic levels,” she said.
Prepandemic norovirus features have also returned, with nursing homes accounting for most outbreaks in the United States. According to CDC data from September, 59% of explosions occurred in those facilities during the 2021-2022 season. Pre-pandemic prevalence in those settings ranged from 53% to 68%.
The UK’s health agency reported a 66% increase in norovirus cases this season compared to average seasonal rates. According to Reuters, most confirmed infections have occurred in adults 65 and older, with the majority occurring in nursing homes.
Norovirus usually causes the most severe illness in older people, people with comorbid diseases, and children. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea and is especially dangerous if severe dehydration occurs. Norovirus kills 900 people in the United States annually, primarily older people.
According to one national study of data from 2009 to 2018, long-term care facilities have a high burden of norovirus outbreaks, with pre-pandemic rates averaging four per 100 facilities annually. The researchers discovered that for every 1,000 cases during that period, there were 22 hospitalizations and 2.3 deaths.
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