Norovirus infection is a contagious virus disease caused by Norovirus. The virus is transmitted by fecally contaminated food or water, by person-to-person contact, and via aerosolization of vomited virus and subsequent contamination of surfaces.
Norovirus is the most common cause of food-borne disease outbreaks in the U.S. It can spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships.
According to Patel MM et al (2008), the annual number of diarrhea-associated events in outpatients is estimated at 7.7 million in industrialized countries, with 0.5 million hospitalizations, and 9.0 million hospitalizations in developing countries, with nearly 2 million deaths.
A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus.
- Acute Gastroenteritis
- Throwing Up
- Stomach Pain
- Body Aches
There is no vaccine currently available to prevent norovirus infection. It’s always impossible to avoid getting norovirus, but the following advice can help stop the virus from spreading.
- Stay off work or school till about 48 hours after the symptoms have passed.Also, avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food. Don’t rely on alcohol hand gels, as they do not kill the virus.
- Ensure you disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated. It’s best to use a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Wash any items of clothing or bedding that could have been contaminated separately on a hot wash to ensure the virus is killed.
- Do not share towels and flannels.
- Ensure to flush away any infected poo or vomit in the toilet and clean the surrounding area.
- Avoid eating raw, unwashed produce and only eat oysters from a reliable source, as oysters can carry norovirus.
No specific treatment is generally required for norovirus, infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is not a bacterial infection. Treatments aim to avoid complications such as dehydration from fluid loss caused by vomiting and diarrhea, and to mitigate symptoms using antiemetics and antidiarrheals.
Compiled by: eDokita Team.
- Patel, MM; Widdowson, MA; Glass, RI; Akazawa, K; Vinjé, J; Parashar, UD (August 2008). “Systematic literature review of role of noroviruses in sporadic gastroenteritis.”. Emerging infectious diseases. 14 (8): 1224–31. PMID 18680645.
- Melissa Conrad Stöppler and John P. Cunha; Norovirus Infection. eMedicineHealth. 2016
- NHS Choices; Norovirus. 2015
- CDC; Preventing Norovirus Infection. 2016
- Charles Patrick Davis and Melissa Conrad Stöppler; Norovirus Infection. MedicineNet.com. 2015