Norovirus

Noroviruses are a major cause of gastroenteritis in humans. They are highly contagious and cause epidemics, particularly in the winter.

What is the norovirus?

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting in humans. It is a highly contagious virus and the leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide. The virus is found in feces and vomit, and can be transmitted from person to person.

Symptoms

The symptoms of a norovirus infection appear 24 to 48 hours after infection:

  • sudden diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal cramps
  • headache
  • mild fever.

These symptoms disappear spontaneously after a few days

Transmission

The virus is found in the stool and vomit of sick patients and can be transmitted:

  • from person to person via the fecal-oral route (e.g. an infected person prepares food without first washing his/her hands after going to the toilet)
  • through direct contact (e.g. kissing a sick person)
  • via aerosols (small droplets in the air), which can become airborne when vomiting and flushing the toilet
  • by eating contaminated food, such as crustaceans, molluscs, foodstuffs handled by people, red fruit and smoothies or by drinking contaminated water.

Prevention

Transmission of the norovirus can be prevented by taking hygiene measures. It is import to wash your hands carefully every time you go to the toilet and before preparing or eating food. Also ensure that toilets are kept clean and flush the toilet with the seat closed. 

In residential care centers and hospitals, additional measures are taken to prevent further contamination using contact isolation.

Diagnosis

A doctor can diagnose gastric flu based in the clinical findings. The virus can also be detected in vomit or stool samples.

Risk groups

Anyone can get gastric flu, but not everyone who comes into contact with the virus always gets ill. Infection is more common in people who stay or live in groups, such as in a residential care center or hospital. The risk of dehydration due to vomiting and/or diarrhea is higher for the elderly and young children.

Treatment

Norovirus infections are usually benign diseases that do not require any special treatment. Care should be taken to avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. If necessary, medication can be prescribed against vomiting.

QR code

QR code for this page URL

Contacts

Peer-reviewed publications

There are currently no scientific publication associated to this health topic

Other publications

There are currently no publications associated to this health topic

Projects

There are currently no projects associated to this health topic

Events

There are currently no events associated to this health topic

Other sources of information

There are currently no external links associated to this health topic

In the media

There are currently no media associated to this health topic