Table of Contents
- Norovirus infection facts
- What is a norovirus?
- What causes a norovirus infection? How are norovirus infections transmitted?
- What are norovirus infection symptoms and signs in adults, children, and babies?
- What is the incubation period for a norovirus infection? How long are people infected with norovirus contagious?
- How is a norovirus infection diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for norovirus infections in adults, children, and babies?
- What are possible complications of a norovirus infection?
- What is the prognosis of a norovirus infection?
- Is it possible to prevent norovirus infections? Is there a norovirus vaccine?
- Where can people get more information about norovirus infections?
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What are norovirus infection symptoms and signs in adults, children, and babies?
Most people get sick within one day of ingesting norovirus (range 12-48 hours) so the virus has a short incubation period. Symptoms and signs include 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 are common.
Infected people are usually thirsty, although they may have trouble keeping fluids down. In general, if patients can orally ingest about the same amount of fluid they lose through diarrhea and vomiting, they will do well. Symptoms in adults may be different than symptoms in children. Young children and babies may not complain of thirst but may appear listless or lethargic as they become dehydrated. Symptoms may be more severe in debilitated, elderly patients or pregnant women. People who are unable to replace their fluids and develop signs of dehydration need medical care.
Most people have a mild illness that lasts two to three days. In contrast to bacterial diarrheas, such as those caused by Shigella or Campylobacter bacteria, norovirus does not cause blood or pus in the stool. The length of infection may be prolonged in patients who are in the hospital or in young children.
Norovirus has been associated with severe inflammation of the colon in newborns and with disease flares in children who have inflammatory bowel disease, but it is not yet clear what role norovirus plays in these conditions.
Glass, R.I., U.D. Parashar, and M.K. Estes. "Norovirus Gastroenteritis." N Engl J Med 361 (2009): 1776-1785.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Updated Norovirus Outbreak Management and Disease Prevention Guidelines." MMWR Recomm Rep 60.RR-3 (2011): 1-20.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Norovirus." Sept. 30, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/>.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Norovirus: NoroSTAT Data." May 29, 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/reporting/norostat/