DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Norovirus infection can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. Noroviruses are a major cause of gastrointestinal illness in closed and crowded environments, such as hospitals, nursing homes and cruise ships.
Typically, people with norovirus infection develop diarrhea and abdominal pain and begin to vomit within 24 to 48 hours of exposure. Norovirus symptoms may last a few days, but most people recover completely without treatment. However, in some people — especially infants, older adults and people with underlying disease — vomiting and diarrhea can be severely dehydrating and require medical attention.
Norovirus infection is highly contagious. Noroviruses commonly spread through food or water contaminated by fecal matter during preparation. You can also acquire norovirus infection through close contact with an infected person — for instance, if you live in a nursing home or work in a day care facility.
- Norovirus: Technical fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus-factsheet.htm. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- Kapikian AZ. Rotaviruses, noroviruses and other gastrointestinal viruses. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Feb 21, 2011.
- Treanor JJ. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis of noroviruses, astroviruses and sapoviruses. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Managing acute gastroenteritis among children: Oral rehydration, maintenance, and nutritional therapy. MMWR. 2003;52:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5216a1.htm. Accessed Feb. 23, 2011.
- Norovirus illness: Key facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus-keyfacts.htm. Accessed Feb. 22, 2011.
- Canavan A, et al. Diagnosis and management of dehydration in children. American Family Physician. 2009;80:692.