Norovirus – Panama

May 24, 2022 – Approximate 150 cases of diarrheal-related infection were reported in the Bugaba district, Panama. The individuals have also reported nausea and vomiting. All individuals have sought medical attention. The outbreak occurred at the Pablo Espinoza Polyclinic. According to the source, it is likely that the infection was from the consumption of contaminated water. However, this is being further investigated.

Water samples from the public aqueduct systems have been sent to Panama City for analysis. Investigation of whether a virus or other environmental contaminant is responsible is also being considered. In the interim, officials advise community members to seek medical attention should they present with any of the aforementioned symptoms

Photo: Norovirus particles electron micrograph.

Norovirus, sometimes referred to as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.

Infection is characterized by non-bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Fever or headaches may also occur. Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after being exposed, and recovery typically occurs within 1 to 3 days.

This may be through contaminated food or water or person-to-person contact. Risk factors include unsanitary food preparation and sharing close quarters.

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