Norovirus are part of a group of viruses capable of triggering infection of the intestines or commonly known as gastroenteritis. This condition typically causes symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.
If norovirus is present in the intestines of an infected individual, it can pass out via diarrhea. It can quickly spread from an infected individual to another via close contact. The reason for this is that the virus is present on the hands of the individuals after using the toilet. Even surfaces or objects touched by the infected individual spreads the virus. In addition, the virus spreads if the infected individual prepares food or if water is contaminated.
There have been reported cases of norovirus outbreaks especially in healthcare facilities, schools and cruise ships. Take note that it takes 24-48 hours after initial contact with the virus before the symptoms manifest.
Is norovirus infection common?
Norovirus is considered as the most common virus responsible for causing gastroenteritis among adults. Nevertheless, an infection can affect individuals of all ages.
An individual can acquire the norovirus infection more than once since the body is not capable of maintaining immunity to the infection for an extended period once he/she has it.
What are the indications?
Nausea is one of the initial symptoms of norovirus infection. This is followed by diarrhea that is watery. There is also vomiting at the same time. Sometimes, other symptoms are also present such as:
- Aching muscles in the legs and arms
It is important to note that the symptoms are relatively mild and brief, usually lasting for 1-2 days only. Nevertheless, some might experience the symptoms longer.
In case the symptoms are severe, dehydration can occur. A doctor should be consulted right away if a child is suspected of dehydration. Mild dehydration is common and easily reversed with increased intake of fluids. In severe cases of dehydration, it can be deadly unless prompt treatment is started.