Official figures show that cases are 64 per cent higher than this time last year, striking early with cases running at a level normally seen about a month later in the season.

Health Protection Agency calculations show that around 666,144 people have fallen ill already, with laboratory tests confirming norovirus in 2,313 cases up until December 2nd, compared with 1,412 cases at the same point last year reports The Telegraph.

It is not known why the norovirus season has begun early this year and if the poor summer weather may have had something to do with it.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by contact with an infected person or consuming contaminated food or water or touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Some people may have a temperature, headache and stomach cramps. The illness usually resolves in one or two days and there are no long-term effects.

The virus spreads rapidly in closed environments such as hospitals, schools, nursing and residential homes.


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