Symptoms and Signs of Norovirus Infection

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 9/23/2022

Doctor's Notes on Norovirus Infection

Norovirus is a common virus that infects humans. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis (often referred to erroneously as stomach flu) in the U.S. People get the virus by ingesting food or drink that has been contaminated with small amounts of feces or fluids from infected people, such as occurs with poor handwashing. Foods and water may become contaminated during processing, preparation, or handling.

Characteristic signs and symptoms of norovirus infection are vomiting, nausea, and a watery diarrhea. The symptoms usually last 2-3 days and they go away on their own. Fluid lost through diarrhea and vomiting can lead to associated symptoms of dehydration, and young children and the elderly are most at risk for these complications. Other possible associated symptoms are fever, abdominal cramping, muscle aches, tiredness, and headache.

What Is the Treatment for Norovirus?

There is no specific treatment that will cure nor virus infection. Management of nor virus infection involves maintaining hydration by consuming adequate fluids and electrolytes. Oral rehydration solutions may be used. In severe cases, hydration can be provided through an intravenous line in a hospital. Management might also include medications to control nausea and vomiting.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.