Norovirus

Norovirus

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Changed on: 08.04.2019
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Norovirus is one of the most common causes of acute, non-bacterial related gastroenteritis in humans and is responsible for the majority of acute, viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in community facilities such as schools, hospitals and retirement and nursing homes. Norovirus (formerly known as Norwalk-like virus) is a member of the family Caliciviridae. It is a single-strand, non-enveloped RNA virus, which was first discovered in immunoelectron microscopy examinations in 1972.

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Norovirus is one of the most common causes of acute, non-bacterial related gastroenteritis in humans and is responsible for the majority of acute, viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in community facilities such as schools, hospitals and retirement and nursing homes. Norovirus (formerly known as Norwalk-like virus) is a member of the family Caliciviridae. It is a single-strand, non-enveloped RNA virus, which was first discovered in immunoelectron microscopy examinations in 1972.

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Transmission

The virus is discharged in large quantities via a person’s stools and sick. The infectiousness level is very high, the minimal infectious dose being very low at 10-100 virus particles.
Infection routes are the faecal-oral route and airborne transmission via contaminated aerosols. Transmission occurs either directly from person to person or indirectly via contaminated surfaces, items, food or water.

The virus is contagious throughout the acute infection period and for at least 48 hours after the clinical symptoms have ceased. The virus can be excreted via stools for 7 -14 days after an acute infection. The incubation period is about 15-48 hours.

Symptoms

The infection usually starts with severe vomiting and diarrhoea: further symptoms could be abdominal pains, headaches, myalgia (muscle ache) and lethargy.

The clinical symptoms last for about 12-60 hours. The disease is usually self-limiting.

 

 

Therapy

Outpatient treatment suffices in most cases. The treatment focuses on the symptoms and aims at counteracting the, sometimes, considerable loss of fluid and electrolytes. There is no causal antiviral therapy.

Infected individuals should stay in bed during the acute phase and limit their contact to other people for up to at least 48 hours after the clinical symptoms have subsided. The disease probably only starts to be contagious at the outbreak of the acute infection, so no action has to be taken in relation to non-infected contact persons. However, the disease is already contagious when mild gastronintestinal symptoms occur.

 

 


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