Norovirus (Norwalk Virus)

By: Bill Thomasson

This is the Norovirus under a microscope. Something so small can cause severe illnesses, death, and massive outbreaks.

Norovirus, sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, it is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans. It affects people of all ages. The virus is transmitted by fecally contaminated food or water, by person-to-person contact and aerosolization of the virus and following contamination of surfaces. The  incubation period for norovirus gastroenteritis is 12 to 48 hours, with a median period of approximately 33 hours. Illness is characterized by nausea, acute-onset vomiting, and watery, non-bloody diarrhea with abdominal cramps.

The virus dangerous, it's like a dramatic case of the stomach flu. People may feel very sick and vomit many times a day, but most people get better within 1 to 2 days, and they have no long-term health effects. However, sometimes people are unable to drink enough liquids to replace the liquids they lost because of vomiting and diarrhea. Those people can become dehydrated and may need special medical attention.

Hand washing with soap and water is an effective method for reducing the transmission of norovirus pathogens. Alcohol rubs (≥62% ethanol) may be used as an partner, but are less effective than hand-washing, as norovirus lacks a lipid viral envelope. Surfaces where norovirus particles may be present can be sanitised with a solution of 1.5% to 7.5% of household bleach in water, or other disinfectants effective against norovirus.

This picture poster, basically sums up the symptoms, how to kill the virus effectively, and how you can get infected with it.

The chart shows the ways people got infected with the 1,518 confirmed Norovirus outbreaks in 2010-2011.

This is basically a timeline showing you the steps the Norovirus goes through when you first get infected, to when you become temporarily immune to that particular strain you came into contact with.

The Norovirus is very contagious. it only takes around 18 particles from an infected person or surface, to get you to become infected.

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