Norovirus Infection

What causes a norovirus infection? How are norovirus infections transmitted?

Infection occurs when humans inadvertently ingest material contaminated with small amounts of fluids or feces from an infected person. It only takes a small number of viruses to cause infection, so even microscopic amounts of feces or fluids can be contagious.

An infected person with vomiting or diarrhea can contaminate their environment directly, or they may indirectly spread virus particles through aerosolized droplets when vomiting; however, the main route is by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Contamination may also occur in food and/or in water, which has led to infection spreading widely in restaurants or aboard cruise ships. Outbreaks in school systems occur regularly, sometimes spreading widely. The virus is very hardy and can live for days or weeks on surfaces, including clothing. Outbreaks often occur when groups of people congregate (for example, cruise ships, dormitories, schools, day-care centers). Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 10/28/2015
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