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HomeAnswersInfectious Diseasesnorovirus infectionCan you give some insights on norovirus infection?

How to prevent and manage norovirus infection?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At May 27, 2024
Reviewed AtJune 6, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have been hearing about this norovirus outbreak causing gastroenteritis. Can you give me some information about norovirus, how it spreads, and what I can do to protect myself from getting sick? Also, are there any specific symptoms I should watch out for if I think I might have it? Kindly suggest.

Thank you.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Norovirus is responsible for an estimated 21 million cases of gastrointestinal illness in the United States annually. Patients with mild disease may not seek treatment, and the actual number of cases may exceed the estimate. Norovirus is believed to cause approximately 60 % of cases of acute gastroenteritis in the United States, and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) attributes 400,000 emergency department visits and 71,000 hospitalizations each year to norovirus infection. Hence, this Norovirus is not as rare as you might think. Norovirus is known to cause gastroenteritis outbreaks in hospitals, other healthcare facilities, schools, military barracks, cruise ships, and tourism resorts. Person-to-person transmission is the most common form of transmission, but contaminated surfaces also contribute to disease propagation. Surfaces may be contaminated with viral particles by splashing of emesis or stool or by aerosolized viral particles. Although people of all age groups are at risk of contracting norovirus, those at the extremes of age and the immunocompromised are at the highest risk of poor outcomes.

Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, myalgias, headache, and chills with a predominance of diarrhea, while others report nausea and vomiting as primary symptoms. Symptoms may typically persist for one to three days. The primary clinical focus should be on the hydration status with an emphasis on infection control to prevent the spread of disease to healthcare workers and patient contacts. The mainstay of treatment is oral rehydration therapy. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend oral rehydration solutions with electrolytes and glucose. Oral rehydration solutions are preferred over sports drinks and juices for pediatric patients because the latter contains a high carbohydrate and osmotic load that may deteriorate diarrhea. Patients with intractable vomiting or severe dehydration require intravenous hydration and, possibly, hospital admission.

Antibiotics generally are not indicated unless there is a concern for bacterial infection. Anti-motility agents have been beneficial in adults, and antiemetics may provide symptomatic relief. Studies support the use of Ondansetron in vomiting children, but anti-motility agents are not recommended for pediatric patients. Norovirus vaccine development remains a priority for both the perceived public health benefits as well as the economic benefits. Developing a vaccine has been difficult because of the complex nature of norovirus, human immune responses, difficulty culturing the virus, and limited animal models for vaccine testing. Some vaccines are currently in pre-clinical development; one has completed phase II adult clinical trials. Due to viral evolution, development efforts have focused on multivalent vaccines, which are similar to influenza vaccines.

I hope this information will help you.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha
Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha

Infectious Diseases

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