By Jo Waters For The Daily Mail
Published: 23:16 GMT, 6 January 2020 | Updated: 23:23 GMT, 6 January 2020
One of the most contagious viruses there is, norovirus — the winter vomiting bug — is spread so easily that a pea-sized amount could infect the world's population. And soon it could be coming your way.
The number of laboratory-reported norovirus cases for the first two weeks of December was 48 per cent higher than average for this time of year.
'It is highly infectious: you only need ten to 1,000 microscopic virus particles to become infected, which is very low,' says Dave Partridge, a microbiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
Norovirus (pictured) is spread so easily that a pea-sized amount could infect the world's population
The symptoms — nausea, diarrhoea and projectile vomiting — cause 48 hours of misery, but for the elderly and people with a compromised immune system, the symptoms can be more prolonged. So what can you do if someone at home is affected?
USE SOAP AND WATER
Alcohol gels are not as effective against the norovirus as