Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Norovirus infection causes a person to develop a rapid onset of nausea,
vomiting, diarrhea, and occasionally stomach cramping (all symptoms of
gastroenteritis). In addition, the person may feel tired, have muscle aches,
headache, and a low-grade fever (less than 101 F) with chills. The
symptoms last about one to two days. Although no long-term problems persist or
develop with this viral infection, dehydration (loss of body water) may be
significant enough to require medical treatment.
Norovirus was probably first noticed by Dr. J. Zahorsky in 1929 and termed "winter
vomiting disease." In 1968 in Norwalk, Ohio, there was an outbreak of
gastroenteritis thought to be caused by a virus. The virus was termed the
Norwalk agent (also termed particle or virus). It was classified as a "small
round virus" and later, after genetic studies, classified as a member of the
family Caliciviridae, with a single strand of RNA for its genome. The name of
the genus, Norovirus, was approved in 2002 by an international committee.
Researchers suggest that norovirus is responsible for about 50% of all outbreaks
of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and about 90% of epidemic nonbacterial
gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide. Most outbreaks or epidemics occur in places
where people come together in close contact (for example, dorms, hospitals,
prisons, cruise ships, schools, and nursing homes). Norovirus infections are
transmitted person to person, by contaminated food and water, and by contaminated surfaces.
You treat gastroenteritis caused by noroviruses by managing complications until it passes. Dehydrationcaused by diarrhea and vomiting is the most common complication. Do not use medicines, including antibioticsand other treatments, unless your doctor recommends them.
To prevent dehydration, take frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large, loose stool you have. Soda and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important electrolytesthat are lost during diarrhea, and they should not be used to rehydrate. In cases of severe dehydration, fluids may need to be replaced through an IV (intravenously).