Norovirus in babies and children
Norovirus causes acute gastrointestinal infections with vomiting and diarrhea. Noroviruses occur worldwide and are the second most common cause of acute intestinal infections in babies and young children after rotaviruses. In contrast to rotaviruses, there is no vaccination against noroviruses.
An acute gastrointestinal infection is known among medical professionals as gastroenteritis. It can have various causes, which include bacterial causes or a viral infection can be triggered. The first medical evidence of gastroenteritis caused by viruses was found in the early 1970s. This "Norwalk-like virus", named after the 1968 epidemic in Norwalk (USA), was obtained from stool samples taken from volunteers. This is probably where the name norovirus comes from. Noroviruses are widespread throughout the world – and on the rise. Children under five and older persons are particularly frequently affected.
After rotaviruses, noroviruses are the most frequent cause of gastrointestinal infections in babies and children. In children, they are responsible for a third of all diarrheal diseases.
Current norovirus wave in December 2018
Currently (in November and December 2018), many parts of Germany are again experiencing a Increase in cases of norovirus – especially in children – recorded. This year, by calendar week 47 (end of November), almost 65 cases of norovirus had already been reported in Germany.000 cases are registered, which is almost 5.000 more than in the same period of the previous year. However, these are only cases with actual laboratory-proven infection. The number of unreported cases is probably much higher. Since the main period of infection is in winter, it is not surprising that towards the end of the year more cases are reported.
According to reports, cases are currently accumulating in:
Bavaria (especially Upper Bavaria)
To avoid infection, it is highly advisable to wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap, especially when coming home from outside (supermarket, public transport), having shaken hands, etc. Because the norovirus is transmitted mainly via the hand. Affected persons should therefore wash their hands very thoroughly after going to the toilet – for up to two weeks after the illness has subsided, because the virus can still be excreted for that long.
Route of infection: How is norovirus transmitted??
Noroviruses can spread via smear infections or aerosols produced during vomiting. They are also transmitted via contaminated water or food. Due to the high number of pathogens in vomit or stool, infection is easily possible without strict hygiene. Noroviruses are known to spread rapidly in community settings such as hospitals or nursing homes, as well as in nurseries or hostels. Noroviruses are also dangerous for everyone due to their ability to constantly appear in new virus variants that trigger symptoms of varying severity.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends special measures to prevent the rapid spread of noroviruses:
– Avoid contact with ill persons and pay attention to careful hand hygiene (careful hand washing) – With the Care of sick persons good hand and toilet hygiene (regular cleaning of contact surfaces, personal hygiene products/towels) must also be maintained at home.
– Objects and surfaces that come into contact with vomit or stool (for example, sinks, toilets, doorknobs, floors) should only be thoroughly cleaned with rubber gloves. To prevent further spread of the viruses, disposable towels should be used and disposed of afterwards. The use of disinfectants is not usually necessary. It is much more important that the above mentioned measures are consistently observed.
Noroviruses are very easily transmitted, as a minimal infectious dose (10-100 virus particles) is sufficient. This is why a norovirus infection spreads within communities (such as. B. in kindergarten) rapidly. The Incubation period is one to three days, however, after infection, the first symptoms often appear after ten to 48 hours. The acute phase lasts two to four days.
Noroviruses often cause solid stools in babies after a incubation period of one to three days aus out of the blue to sudden, gushing vomiting, often associated with violent diarrhea. These symptoms usually last for a few days. However, the pathogens in the stool can still be detected several weeks after illness. During this time, strict hygiene should be observed.
Norovirus in the baby
Babies who are sick with norovirus often refuse to drink, cry a lot, and also suffer from severe diarrhea and vomiting. Due to the loss of fluid, the fontanelle may be slightly sunken. Diaper contents are often watery-mucousy, greenish or yellowish in color. Especially if fever also occurs, there is a risk of fluid deficiency. Diarrhea can also cause diaper rash.
When to go to the doctor with the baby?
Parents cannot tell whether the gastrointestinal infection is norovirus or whether other pathogens are the cause. However, if there is evidence of norovirus in the environment and the baby suffers from diarrhea and vomiting, the doctor can examine a stool sample. It is essential to compensate for the massive loss of fluids. Parents should UNCONDITIONALLY consult a doctor in the following cases:
– Baby/child does not drink enough – accompanying gastrointestinal infection occurs high fever – smallest ingested amounts are immediately vomited up again falls in – weight loss noticeable
Natural pectin against norovirus
Natural pectins, such as those found in apples and carrots, are suitable for natural support of the intestinal mucosa. They can inhibit the growth of pathogenic germs in the intestine. Carry at the same time by their natural ability to "thicken" to firmer stools with. Natural pectin can also be purchased at the pharmacy for ingestion. In any case, inform your pharmacist that the medicine is intended for a baby/child. What helps babies. Children with Norovirus?
Drink, drink, drink: Drinking enough is the most important measure, continue breastfeeding and feed frequently to compensate for fluids, older children can drink fennel tea, chamomile tea with glucose and water, and if necessary. be provided with a rehydration solution from the pharmacy – change diapers frequently to avoid a sore bottom – dried blueberries (no fresh ones!) in curd cheese – raw grated Apple two to three times a day, Carrot soup, if the child likes with ginger (boil 1 pound of carrots with 1 l water for 1h, mash and add 1 tsp salt) – children from one year: 2-3 times daily Bloodroot (powder from the pharmacy). Mix a knife point under the grated apple or in the tea. Helps especially with cramp-like diarrhea. Schuessler salts: No. 7 Magnesium phosphoricum as a hot seven every 15 minutes together with Nr. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum against diarrhea HomeopathyArsenicum album (D6) alternating with Veratrum album (D4), 5 globules hourly (4 times), then 4 times daily
Norovirus – diagnosis and obligation to report
The proof of an infection by Noroviren can be furnished by means of a stool sample. Since noroviruses occur frequently in people who work with other people or with food or similar, the doctor is subject to a reporting obligation, as is the laboratory manager who discovered the viruses in the stool sample.