New strain of norovirus spreads around the world

Updated 17 January 2013

New strain of norovirus spreads around the world

LONDON: A new strain of the winter vomiting disease norovirus has spread to France, New Zealand and Japan from Australia and is overtaking all others to become the dominant strain in Britain, health officials said yesterday.
The norovirus variant, known as Sydney 2012, was identified in a scientific paper last week and Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) said genetic testing showed it was now causing more cases in England and Wales than other strains.
Sydney 2012 does not carry worse symptoms than others but, like other norovirus strains, it can cause violent and projectile vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes fevers, headaches and stomach cramps.
Norovirus cases have risen earlier than expected this winter in Britain, across Europe, Japan and other parts of the world.
Although norovirus mostly causes just a few days of sickness, it is responsible for millions of infections every year and is notorious for its ability to evade control.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say norovirus causes 21 million illnesses a year, with 70,000 cases requiring hospitalization and around 800 ending in death.
Ian Goodfellow, a scientist who has studied norovirus for 10 years, describes it as “the Ferrari of the virus world” and “one of the most infectious viruses of man.”
Latest HPA data showed a dip in reported norovirus cases over the Christmas period — something scientists had predicted — but with 4,140 cases so far in England and Wales, infections are still 63 percent higher than at this time last year.
For every laboratory-confirmed case, scientists estimate there are 288 unreported cases, since the vast majority of people affected don’t go to a doctor. This means the number affected so far in Britain is more than 1.2 million.
“The emergence of a new strain does not mean that it causes more serious illness, and managing outbreaks and those with the illness remains the same,” said David Brown, director of the virology reference department at the HPA.
“Noroviruses mutate rapidly and new strains are constantly emerging. At the start of the season it is normal for outbreaks to be caused by a range of different strains. However, as the season progresses, particular strains are more successful and become dominant.”
There is no specific treatment for norovirus infection other than to let the illness take its course and try to stay hydrated by drinking regularly. Symptoms usually last around two days.


Dayma: Levantine flavors with a contemporary twist

Updated 25 October 2020

Dayma: Levantine flavors with a contemporary twist

  • Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist
  • Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb

DUBAI: Those of us who grew up eating Levantine cuisine will recall the warmth and flavor of many dishes, along with childhood memories of family gatherings and chitchat.

Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist.

Starters include shatta prawn crescents — sourdough sambuseks stuffed with prawns, shatta (a Middle Eastern hot sauce), ginger, coriander and lime. The crispy dough encloses a zesty and slightly spicy filling.

Aubergine sfiha stars — sourdough shaped stars with smoked eggplant, pomegranate molasses and walnuts — are a smokier, vegetarian version of the Arabic meat pastry or sfiha.

Dayma also offers a selection of four starters in its “swingers special.” Try a range of pastries and decide which you would recommend.

From the dips, we would suggest the carrot mutabbal, a perfect marriage of tropical and Middle Eastern flavors. Unlike the original recipe based on smoked eggplant, this one uses whipped carrots and caraway, tahini, slivered dates and coconut shavings. The dip has a delicious sweet flavor with an interesting sour aftertaste.

Among the mains, if you are looking for a more traditional or mainstream example of Levantine cuisine, try Beik’s lamb chops. The meat is delightfully tender, with a sweet and smoky flavor.

Looking to try something old style cooked in a new style? The kebbeh mini-tray bake features burghul pie filled with a tasty stuffing of minced beef, caramelized onions, sour cherry and flaked almonds, generously spiced with cinnamon. 

Another delicious main is the yellowtail faskar. Locally sourced sea bream fillet is marinated in ginger, tamarind and coriander and then barbecued, giving it a smoky flavor.  

Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb to honor the Middle Eastern tradition of serving guests coffee after a meal.

A great place to try traditional Arabic cuisine with a clever contemporary twist.