NOROVIRUS

  • A small RNA virus that is surrounded by a protein coating.
    • Many different types; at least 25 different strains that affect humans.
      • RNA genome mutates easily to produce new types.
    • Disease occurs worldwide with approximately 800 deaths per year, with peak incidence from November to the end of May in the U.S.
      • Therefore, the virus is sometimes called “winter vomiting disease”.
    • In the U.S., it is the most common cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks.
      • Not related to the influenza virus.

Has a short incubation period, with patients getting sick within one day of ingesting norovirus (range 12-48 hours).

Symptoms and signs:

  • Vomiting, watery diarrhea, or both.
  • Fever occurs in one-third to one-half of infected people.
  • Cramping abdominal or stomach pain and a general feeling of tiredness, headache, and muscle aches.
  • Feeling of thirst.
    • There may be difficulty in retaining fluids.
      • May be lost through diarrhea and vomoting.

Symptoms of adults may differ as compared to children.

  • Young children and babies may not complain of thirst but may manifest with listlessness or lethargic.
  • If adequate fluid replacement is not done, dehydration may occur.

Usually lasts for two to three days and does not cause blood or pus in the stool.

  • Prolonged infection may occur in hospitalized individuals or in young children.

Virus has been associated with severe inflammation of the colon in newborns and with disease flares in children who have inflammatory bowel disease.

DIAGNOSIS

Physician may do/request:

  • History & Physical Exam
  • Laboratory tests
    • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test
    • Enzyme-based immunoassays

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

No specific treatment since disease is self-limiting.

Proper hydration should be observed.

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