Vomiting Bug Still Has UK on Its Knees

Nasty norovirus has now hit 3M; cases could spike again
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2008 1:53 PM CST
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(Newser) – A vicious bug that causes days of vomiting and diarrhea continues to wreak havoc in the UK, striking down 3 million Brits so far this winter, the Telegraph reports. Experts warn that with many returning to school and work after the holidays this week, the norovirus, which is potentially deadly to the elderly and other vulnerable groups, could hit epidemic levels.

Hospitals face a critical shortage of beds, and sales of anti-diarrhea tablets are up sharply from last year. Hoping to stave off infection, schools have installed alcohol gel dispensers for children to clean their hands before lunch. Despite such measures, infection figures are on track to surpass those of winter 2002/03, when norovirus was last declared an epidemic.