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Sapovirus Is A Very Contagious Gastroenteritis That Especially Affects Children

In recent days, concern has grown over the emergence in Navarra of 23 cases of acute gastroenteritis caused by sapovirus , most of them also in infants.

It is a very common and highly contagious infectious disease among people, which is why it often causes outbreaks in the family, in daycare centers and in other settings such as social-health centers.

‘The Sapporo virus’
The name of the sapovirus has nothing to do with the amphibian animal, but comes from the Japanese city of Sapporo , where it was first detected in 1977 after an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis at a local orphanage.

They are a diverse genus of viruses that affect humans and pigs and are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis.

It is transmitted by the fecal / oral route, and is extremely contagious . To get an idea, as few as 10 particles are enough in some cases to develop the infection, and a sick person expels up to 10⁹ particles per gram of feces or vomit. These particles can also be viable for years.

Fortunately, it is not very serious , and the only complication, dehydration from severe diarrhea, is very easily avoidable.

Sapoviruses are most active at certain times of the year ; specifically, in the northern hemisphere its season of greatest incidence is between October and April.

The typical symptoms of a gastroenteritis
As we said, sapoviruses are the main cause of acute gastroenteritis , which is why they manifest with the classic symptoms that we associate with this disease (other gastroenteritis, such as bacterial or those caused by norovirus, share the same symptoms).

These symptoms include watery diarrhea without blood (if it occurs it is a symptom of other more serious infections), abdominal pain and cramps, vomiting, headaches and low-grade or low-grade fever.

If this is the condition, usually adults will not need medical attention (however, if the condition worsens, for example with blood in the stool, high fever, or inability to retain fluids in the stomach for more than 24 hours, yes it is advisable to go to the doctor). In the case of infants and young children, on the other hand, the doctor should be consulted, even if only to ensure the diagnosis.

It is self-limited
Sapovirus gastroenteritis is a self-limited disease that goes away on its own within a few days. There is no specific cure for it, so the strategy is to combat dehydration, relieve symptoms, and rest.

For this, it is important to drink plenty of water and adopt a soft diet. The serum can also be beneficial in replenishing mineral salts lost through diarrhea and vomiting.