NOV 21, 2017 06:41 AM PST

Winter Vomiting Disease

WRITTEN BY: Sarah Hertrich

OOPS! THAT EXPERIMENT FAILED...

It's not your fault! Something went wrong with our formula.
Please begin your experiment again by clicking here.

If this error continues to occur please contact us at support@labroots.com.

Human norovirus was originally called Norwalk virus after the town of Norwalk, OH where the first confirmed outbreak occurred in 1972. The virus is a leading cause of foodborne illness worldwide. Human norovirus may be spread by food, water, person-to-person contact, or even by aerosolized vomitus droplets. 

 

 

Noroviruses cause 19 to 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis in the United States each year. Much like the flu virus, it is more likely to cause outbreaks in the winter season which is why it is also known as winter vomiting disease. Credit: Annies Home

 

Because the virus is highly contagious, it is known to cause outbreaks where large numbers of people are confined to smaller spaces such as cruise ships, college dormitories, hotels, resorts, and nursing homes. It is estimated that only 18 virus particles are necessary to induce illness involving symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, and fatigue, indicating that even a small amount of contamination has the potential to be a public health threat. 

 

Noroviruses do not respond to antibiotics or antivirals however; symptoms in healthy adults typically resolve within 1-3 days. Most people will describe a norovirus infection as having a “stomach bug” or “food poisoning” for which they do not go to the doctor. Complications may develop in young children, the elderly, or other immunocompromised individuals.

 

Due to the high incidence of the disease, difficulty of testing, and difficulty of surveillance it is crucial that prevention be a high public health priority. It is recommended that appropriate hand washing technique using warm water and soap be implemented regularly, especially after going to the bathroom, changing a baby’s diaper, or before preparing food. It is important to remember that alcohol based sanitizers are not as effective as using soap and water to remove bacteria and viruses from the hands.

 

Contaminated food is one of the most common vehicles associated with the spread of norovirus. Foods most commonly associated with outbreaks include shellfish, fresh fruits, and vegetables. In fact, noroviruses account for 60 % of all leafy green associated foodborne outbreaks and are the number one cause of foodborne outbreaks related to leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. It is recommended that fruits and vegetables be thoroughly washed and shellfish thoroughly cooked prior to consumption. 

 

Sources: WebMD, Foodborne Pathogens and Disease

 

About the Author
  • I am a postdoctoral researcher with interests in pre-harvest microbial food safety, nonthermal food processing technologies, zoonotic pathogens, and plant-microbe interactions. My current research projects involve the optimization of novel food processing technologies to reduce the number of foodborne pathogens on fresh produce. I am a food geek!
You May Also Like
MAY 08, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAY 08, 2018
Advances in the Study of the Oral Microbiome
Scientists are learning more about the microbes that we carry in and on our bodies, and how they impact our health....
JUN 11, 2018
Microbiology
JUN 11, 2018
Seeing Gene Transfer as it Happens
Microbes can pick up new pieces of genetic material; now it's been captured in action for the first time....
JUN 25, 2018
Microbiology
JUN 25, 2018
Gut Microbes Linked to Development of Liver Disease
The bacteria that live in our gut release compounds that might act as biomarkers, and may be a part of disease development....
JUN 28, 2018
Videos
JUN 28, 2018
A Vaccine for Syphilis is in the Works
Now that the scientists have studied the protein and its potential, they will begin to enroll participants in a study....
JUL 28, 2018
Videos
JUL 28, 2018
Separating Microbial Fact From Fiction
Can the toilet really send germs flying to your toothbrush?...
AUG 06, 2018
Immunology
AUG 06, 2018
Maternal Dengue Immunity Protects Against Infant Zika Infection
Maternal Dengue immunity produces CD8+ T cells that protect against fetal Zika infection preventing zika-related malformations....
Loading Comments...