Norovirus Infection

(Acute Nonbacterial Gastroenteritis; Caliciviruses; Food Infection; Norwalk Virus; Norwalk-like Virus; Small Round Structure Viruses [SMRVs]; Stomach Flu; Viral Gastroenteritis)

Definition

Norovirus infection occurs in the stomach and intestines. It is most often call the stomach flu. Outbreaks often occur in areas with close contact such as:
  • Cruise ships
  • Restaurants
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals
The Digestive Tract
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Causes

Norovirus infections are caused by a specific group of viruses. The viruses can spread through:
  • Contaminated water supplies, such as recreational lakes, swimming pools, wells, and water stored on cruise ships
  • Raw or improperly steamed shellfish, especially clams and oysters
  • Food and drinks prepared by infected food handlers who do not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom
  • Surfaces, such as a door knob
The viruses can also spread by direct contact with an ill person. This is common in a daycare center or nursing home.

Risk Factors

Any person who ingests the virus is at risk of getting this infection. Older children and adults commonly get this infection.Even if you have been infected with norovirus in the past, you can become ill again if:
  • You are exposed to a different type of norovirus
  • Your last illness was more than 24 months ago

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
Symptoms often appear within 24-48 hours of exposure to the virus. Symptoms often last about 24-60 hours.

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