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What Are the Symptoms and Signs of a Norovirus Infection?
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The symptoms and signs of norovirus infection usually occur within 12-48 hours of contact (incubation period) with the virus and often are first noticed within a cluster of people in a group (for example, military or school dorms, cruise ships, and nursing homes). Groups of people (although occasionally individuals) rapidly develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort or cramping. Some people may develop low-grade fever (less than 101 F), headache, weakness, muscle aches, and loss of taste. The diarrhea may be frequent (many watery stools in 12-24 hours). For children, the elderly, pregnant women, or immunocompromised patients, diarrhea can lead to dehydration (body water loss). The norovirus infection is usually self-limiting and resolves in about one to three days, but people with severe dehydration can develop complications (for example, electrolyte imbalances, coma, or infrequently death).
What Are Risk Factors for a Norovirus Infection?
Anyone can contract a norovirus infection. The virus infects both children and adults. Since the virus is spread from other infected people, risk factors include large group settings where people are in close contact, such as dorms, hospitals, prisons, cruise ships, schools, and nursing homes.
How Long Does a Norovirus Infection Last?
Symptoms and signs of norovirus infection usually last from one to three days.
What Is the Contagious Period for Norovirus?
People with norovirus infection are contagious as soon as they begin to feel ill. They may remain contagious for about three days after they've recovered, but some people can remain contagious for up to two weeks after recovering.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2016
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