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Tests on water, ice at Phuket factories confirm presence of norovirus

FILE PHOTO: Flickr/CDC Global

Health officials in Phuket say that strains of the norovirus have been found on random samples taken at 6 ice production factories and 3 drinking water production facilities. The Phuket News reports that officials from the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office and other relevant agencies visited the factories to examine production processes and take samples. These were then sent for laboratory testing.

In the short-term, it may be advisable to avoid ice in drinks and boil even bottled water before consuming.

The chief of the PPPHO, Kusak Kukiattikoon, says the island is experiencing a big rise in the number of people laid low by the viral digestive disorder. Symptoms include stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea, with a sharp increase in hospital admissions.

Kusak says that while outbreaks of norovirus and rotavirus are not uncommon during the colder, rainy season, the number of patients this year is much higher than in previous years. People continue to be admitted to hospital, with many unable to hold down any food or water.

As is often the case with these things, schools have become a hotbed, with many students across the island having succumbed to the virus. Health officials have issued letters to all education facilities in Phuket, advising them to ramp up hygiene measures and cleanliness, particularly in food preparation areas. Kusak points out that the same principles apply to all businesses and individuals, in order to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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