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One Fifth of Acute Gastroenteritis Worldwide Are Caused By Noroviruses

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What is A Norovirus?

The norovirus is a virus also known as the winter vomiting bug and is a highly contagious virus that can affect people of all ages and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. This viral infection has no cure so that supportive treatment may be done to alleviate its symptoms. This viral infection usually resolves after a few days.

The incubation period of this viral infection usually lasts for about 12 to 48 hours. This is the period when you will start to show the symptoms and when you may be infectious to other people. The first symptom of norovirus infection is a feeling of sickness along with forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea. Other symptoms include fever, headaches, painful stomach cramps and aching limbs. These symptoms usually start within one to two days after infection; however these symptoms can also start sooner. Patients are usually recovered within a few days. The danger lies in dehydration; other symptoms are usually short-lived and are not as dangerous as other complications. These symptoms are just unpleasant.

Dehydration can result from vomiting and diarrhea; this can further deplete the body of much needed water, minerals and salts. Dehydration can bring about dizziness or lightheadedness, headache, tiredness, dry mouth or dry lips and eyes, dark or concentrated urine and passing out of small amounts of urine. Children and the elderly are at a higher risk for dehydration. Severe dehydration can bring about signs and symptoms such as dry or wrinkled skin, an inability to urinate, irritability, sunken eyes, a weak pulse, a rapid heartbeat, cold hands and feet and seizures.

Norovirus has at least 25 different strains; this is why it cannot create immunity in a person. This viral infection causes gastroenteritis especially during winter times. If you are affected with norvovirus, you should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and take paracetamol for any fever or aches and pains. You should also eat foods that are easy to digest and rest at home. A person with norovirus can prevent himself from infecting others by washing hands frequently, not sharing towels and flannels and disinfect surfaces that an infected person has touched.

One Fifth of Acute Gastroenteritis Worldwide Are Caused By Noroviruses

A recent estimate published in the The Lancet Infectious Diseases elaborates the fact that noroviruses are a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) across all age groups, responsible for almost a fifth (18%) of all cases worldwide. Thus the researchers stress the importance of developing vaccines for this infection.

The data used in this study are from 48 countries and involved more than 187,000 gastroenteritis cases worldwide. This estimate is said to be the largest analysis of norovirus infection and disease to date. The researchers are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA. The researchers emphasized that at present, there is still no vaccine or treatment available for norvovirus infections.

The researchers were able to study 175 published reports to compile data on the prevalence of norovirus in individuals with acute gastroenteritis between 1990 and 2014. They found that norovirus tended to be more common in cases of acute gastroenteritis in the community (24%) and outpatient (20%) settings than in emergency department visits and hospitalizations (17%). This supports the theory that norovirus is a more common cause of mild disease however since it is a frequent infection, it can also cause a substantial amount of severe disease.

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