More than 650,000 people in Britain have already suffered from norovirus -- the winter vomiting bug -- officials at the Health Protection Agency said.
Laboratory tests confirmed norovirus cases up to Dec. 2 were almost double compared to this time last year, but more sensitive testing might also boost the numbers, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Health officials said they didn't know why he norovirus season began early this year or if the poor summer weather might have been a factor.
Norovirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted by contact with an infected person; by eating or drinking contaminated food or water; or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, health officials said.
"Norovirus is a short-lived unpleasant infection but most people will fully recover in a couple of days. It is important to remain hydrated as you will be losing a lot of fluids due to the symptoms," Dr. Bob Adak, head of the gastrointestinal diseases department at the HPA told the Telegraph.
"The figures for the last two weeks show that there has been a reduction in the numbers of outbreaks in hospitals although there are clearly a lot of other people becoming unwell as we can see from the number of lab reports."
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