SYDNEY, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities in Australia urged people to use soap and water rather than relying solely on hand sanitizers to ward off the norovirus.
The Food Safety Information Council (FSIC) made the suggestion on Wednesday following hundreds of outbreaks of the gastro virus around the nation in the past five months. Nearly 390 cases have been recorded this year in the state of Victoria, four times higher than average.
"Norovirus is highly contagious. A single infected person can easily spread it to many others, especially if they don't wash their hands properly or prepare food or drink for others while they're sick," said FSIC chairwoman Cathy Moir.
She said not all viruses are the same and although hand sanitizers are very effective against reducing the spread of COVID-19, it has little effect on the spread of norovirus.
The FSIC suggested people to frequently wash their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and drying for another 20 seconds to effectively remove norovirus.
The most important times to wash hands are after going to the toilet, vomiting, changing nappies, cleaning up vomit or faeces (poo) or attending to a sick person who has vomited, and before eating and preparing food.
The FSIC also suggested not to prepare food or drink for others if having gastro, and not to share plates, utensils or drink bottles with others.
Norovirus symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pains. It is usually spread through contaminated food or water or close contact with an infected person and it more commonly occurs during cooler months.
It is common where people are in close living spaces, such as aged-care facilities, hospitals, cruise ships and large sporting events. Enditem