Noroviruses were called Norwalk-like viruses previously. They are a group of non-enveloped, single-stranded RNA viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis. Noroviruses belong to the family Caliciviridae which also causes acute gastroenteritis.
There are six recognized norovirus genogroups. Three of the genogroups (GI, GII, and GIV) affect humans. More than 25 different genotypes have been identified within these three genogroups. Since 2002, GII.4 genotype have been the most common cause of norovirus outbreaks.
Generally, norovirus live in stomach and intestine of the affected person. It spreads easily through direct or indirect contact with an infected person. As it can spread quickly, you can easily get infected from places such as hospitals, schools, and day care centers.
Noroviruses are highly contagious. A person with norovirus infection can shed billions of norovirus particles. But, it only takes as few as 18 viral particles to infect another person.
Primarily, noroviruses are spread through :
- close personal contact with an infected person
- when a person consumes contaminated food or water.
- The virus can also spread through touching contaminated surfaces, objects, or substances.
- It is possible for norovirus to spread through aerosolized vomit that lands on surfaces or enters a person’s mouth then he or she swallows it.
As Norovirus is highly contagious and there is no vaccine to prevent it, we should take precautions to prevent norovirus from entering our body.
We can take following protection for Prevention of Norovirus:
- Wash your hands after using the toilet, changing a diaper, or caring for a sick person. Use soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Clean, then disinfect the entire area after someone vomits or has diarrhea.
- Don’t consume food or beverages prepared by a sick person.
- Wash your hands before preparing or eating food.
- Don’t eat raw or undercooked seafood.
- Wash vegetables and fruits before cutting into or eating it.
- If you’re sick, stay home. This is especially important if you work in food service, healthcare, or education. Sick children shouldn’t attend school, day care, or other activities.
- Put off travel plans until you are fully recovered.
- Don’t use public swimming pools when you have diarrhea.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or poop.