Norovirus cases drop, but experts urge continued vigilance

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH). (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

The Maldives has seen a drop in cases of norovirus - a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea – which left hospitals in the capital overwhelmed late last month.

During the Independence Day holiday in July, hospitals in the capital, including the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), the ADK Hospital, and the Senahiya Hospital, received hundreds of patients presenting with the symptoms of the virus.

Most of the patients were children.

Dr. Ahmed Faisal, a pediatrician from the government-run IGMH, said the norovirus cases are largely under control.

“We are seeing an average of 15 patients per day now,” he said.

Three norovirus patients, all children, are hospitalized.

Faisal said the hospital has seen a significant drop in new cases.

But he urged continued vigilance.

Ahmed Afaal, the managing director of ADK Hospital, also reported a drop in cases.

The sudden surge in cases of the norovirus had come during the Independence Day holiday, which had seen a large number of people travel domestically, and take part in public festivities.

The surge in cases had fueled speculations that the illness was caused by contaminated candy handed out to children who went to watch the Independence Day float parade on July 27.

However, the HPA refuted the speculation and identified the cause as a type of norovirus.

The norovirus is highly contagious, especially in closed and crowded places.

The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.