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HK on High Alert Against Norovirus
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Hong Kong's food and health authority Wednesday jointly called citizens to be on high alert against the outbreak of norovirus as the infection cases increased in Japan.

Norovirus is transmitted via person-to-person or food and water contaminated by the virus. It is believed to be the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in the community. Symptoms consist of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea which generally subside within a few days.

The Center for Health Protection (CHP) said people should be vigilant as noroviral gastroenteritis had also entered the peak season in Hong Kong since late November and early December. Furthermore, the winter season is historically the peak season for norovirus outbreaks.

It also reminded people to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene to prevent acute gastroenteritis caused by norovirus infection.

Meanwhile, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department warned people to be away from raw sea food, which is easy to be affected by norovirus. It also called the food industry to examine their kitchens, food preparation rooms and installation facilities to guarantee food security.

Shenzhen's tourism bureau also warned local travelers who are planning to travel to Japan not to eat raw seafood after a record outbreak of the highly contagious norovirus infected more than 3 million people in that country.

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2006)

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