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How Common Is Norovirus Infection Or Is It Rare?

Norovirus infection is a viral infection that causes stomach illness. The causative organism of this disease is norovirus. It is characterized by rapid onset of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes cramps. It is a foodborne disease that is highly contagious. It was founded by Dr. J. Zahorsky in the year 1929, and he named it “winter vomiting disease.” Its symptoms include low-grade fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, and loss of taste. It affects older adults, children, and immuno-compromised people. It is a self-limited infection that gets resolved in one or three days. There is no known vaccine for this disease.

How Common Is Norovirus Infection Or Is It Rare?

How Common Is Norovirus Infection Or Is It Rare?

Norovirus infection is an abdominal ailment marked by sudden onset of severe vomiting and diarrhea. It is caused by a virus named Norovirus that affects people in outbreaks.(1) It is a common infection of the stomach, which is also known as winter vomiting virus.(3) It is resistant to common disinfectants. It is usually caused by contaminated food or water contaminated during preparation or contaminated utensils. It is a highly contagious disease that spreads rapidly through close contact with the contaminated person. It commonly appears in crowded and closed environments such as nursing homes, child care centers, hospitals, cruise ships, schools, and hostels where bulk food is prepared.(1)

According to many research studies, norovirus has lead 50 % of cases of outbreaks in the United States and other industrial countries across the world.(2) The word outbreaks mean the appearance of similar illness in people due to the exposure to the virus suspected or confirmed in the laboratory.(4) It is the most prevalent illness in the US that occurred due to contaminated food. Most of the epidemics or outbreaks happened in places that are closed and crowded. For instance, people coming together in hospitals, dorms, prisons, cruise ships, hotels, schools, colleges, and nursing homes are mostly affected by this disease.(2)

Norovirus infection is also a common illness as it gets easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated food and water or contaminated utensils or surfaces. It usually spreads through the fecal-oral route. It can also affect air droplets or infected food or objects. This virus can also infect people when the mouth of the infected person is touched with hands.(2) For instance, if infected workers touch ready to eat food, even raw fruits, and vegetables with bare hands before serving them, then it can cause outbreaks of this infection. Cooked food can also carry this virus if it gets infected after cooking before serving.(4)

Food gets infected with norovirus when infected people either prepare food or handle food in an unhygienic condition.(2) Foods that get easily infected with this virus are fresh fruits, green fruits, and shellfish. Some research studies also state that animals like dogs also carry this virus and can spread it to humans.(2) It is also found in some studies that if served food or raw fruits and vegetables are sprayed with infected water during harvesting.(4)

People can also get infected due to outbreaks of norovirus in healthcare facilities by infected, staff, patients, visitors, or contaminated food. Such outbreaks may long for months. In such a situation, it may become severe and cause death. Cruise ships also have outbreaks of this infection due to a closed living hall, shared dining hall, and a crowd of passengers.(4)


Norovirus infection is a common viral infection of the stomach that leads to sudden outbreaks of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is not a rare disease, and it affects people in a group due to contaminated food or water. However, the duration of this disease is short, and patients usually recover them with a good prognosis in one to three days.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 27, 2019

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