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Norovirus Transmission in Residential Facilities

            Norovirus is recognised as one of the most important non-bacterial pathogens causing gastroenteritis. It is so important, in fact, that the majority of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the entire world are attributed to norovirus. The virus possesses all the attributes of an ideal infectious agent; highly contagious, rapidly and prolifically shed, constantly evolving, evokes a limited immunity, only moderately virulent, allowing full recovery, thereby maintaining a large pool of hosts (Hall, 2012). Norovirus acts by the pathogen attacking the B cells in the gut, those cells then release water, causing rectal discomfort due to the onset of diarrhoea (Zimmer, 2014). The pathogen then proceeds to attack the cells of the nervous system, which results in impulses being sent to smooth muscle cells in the stomach, causing them to contract every few minutes, which triggers emesis. The first instance of norovirus was noted by paediatrician, Dr. J. Zohorksy in 1929. Although it wasn't given the name norovirus, Dr. Zohorsky wrote an account of sporadic cases of vomiting and diarrhoea among his patients during the months of November to May. Dr. Zohorsky underscored the importance of good sanitation during the labour process and when caring for infants to prevent the onset of this illness. He coined the term 'winter vomiting sickness' due to his extensive study of the illness (Norovirus.com, 2015). Norovirus is a pathogen that is most often found in health career settings such as hospitals and nursing homes, cruise ships, some restaurants and schools and day care centres and can be transmitted rapidly and with ease in these locations. In the situation provided, both Annabelle Mason and Mary Biggs both complained of abdominal pain, malaise, and Mrs Mason had suffered with diarrhoea 3 times since the beginning of the morning nursing shift.

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