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Norovirus Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Feb 21, 2024

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Causes Of Norovirus Infection

Symptoms Of Norovirus Infection

Risk Factors Of Norovirus Infection

Diagnosis Of Norovirus Infection

Treatment Of Norovirus Infection

Prevention Of Norovirus Infection

Complications Of Norovirus Infection

Norovirus Infection

A norovirus infection can cause abrupt onset of severe vomiting and diarrhoea. The norovirus is highly contagious. They frequently spread by tainted food, water, or surfaces that were tainted while being prepared. Moreover, close contact with an infected individual might spread noroviruses.

Vomiting, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain usually start 12 to 48 hours after exposure. Most patients recover even in the absence of treatment. However, vomiting or diarrhoea can cause severe dehydration in some people, especially small children, the elderly, and those with underlying medical disorders. 

The most common settings for norovirus infections are cramped, crowded spaces. Schools, hospitals, retirement homes, and cruise ships are a few examples.

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Causes Of Norovirus Infection

The norovirus can spread quickly. This suggests that the norovirus can spread rapidly among humans. Stools and vomit contain the virus. You can spread the virus between a few days after you recover from the illness and the time you first notice symptoms. Noroviruses can linger on surfaces and objects for days or even weeks.

One can become infected with norovirus from:

  • Eating food contaminated
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Putting your hand in your mouth after it has touched something or a surface infected with a norovirus infection and being near someone who has that infection
  • Noroviruses are hard to get rid of since they can withstand both extremes of temperature and a variety of disinfectants.

Also Read: Helicobacter Pylori: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Symptoms Of Norovirus Infection

The following sudden symptoms and signs could be caused by a norovirus infection:

  • Experiencing nausea, vomiting, cramps, or discomfort in the stomach
  • Loose or watery diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Mild muscular pains

You can continue to have viral stools for a few weeks after you recover. This shedding could last for a few weeks or months if you also have a health problem. Some people who are infected with the norovirus may not show any symptoms at all. However, because they are contagious, they can still infect others.

Also Read: Gonorrhea: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Risk Factors Of Norovirus Infection

A norovirus can be contracted if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Eating in an environment where food has come into contact with contaminated surfaces or water, or where food has been handled by an infected person attending a preschool or daycare centre 
  • Living in close quarters, such as assisted living facilities lodging in congested areas, such as hotels, resorts, cruise ships, or other places
  • Getting in touch with someone who has the norovirus

Also Read: Shigellosis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Diagnosis Of Norovirus Infection

A stool sample can be used to identify the norovirus, even though symptoms are usually utilised to diagnose the sickness. If you have a weakened immune system or other medical conditions, your healthcare provider might recommend a stool test to confirm the norovirus infection.

Also Read: Babesiosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Treatment Of Norovirus Infection

There is no specific treatment for norovirus infections. Generally speaking, the state of your immune system influences your capacity to heal. The majority of patients typically experience a few days of recovery from their illness.

It's imperative to replace lost fluids. Using oral rehydration solutions is one choice. If you are not able to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated, you could need intravenous (IV) fluids.

Your healthcare provider may recommend over-the-counter drugs to treat diarrhoea and nausea.

Also Read: Trichinosis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Prevention Of Norovirus Infection

A norovirus infection has a rapid spread. There are several different types of noroviruses. Anyone can contract a norovirus infection more than once.

To prevent getting the norovirus:

  • Give your hands a full 20-second wash with soap and water before preparing food, eating, or drinking especially after using the restroom or changing a nappy. When combating noroviruses, soap and water is a more effective methods than hand sanitisers containing alcohol.
  • Avoid contaminated food and water, especially if they may have come into contact with an ill person.
  • Clean fruits and veggies before eating.
  • Seafood should be cooked thoroughly.
  • It is advisable to clean any potentially contaminated surfaces. Wear gloves and use a chlorine bleach solution or a disinfectant that targets noroviruses.
  • When travelling, exercise caution. Consider eating only prepared food, drinking only hot or fizzy beverages, and staying away from street vendors' food if you're visiting regions where there is a significant risk of contracting the norovirus.

When you are ill and for two to three days after your symptoms go gone, you can stop the spread of a norovirus infection by doing the following:

  • Avoid people as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • After work, stay home. Children should stay at home instead of attending nursery or school.
  • Avoid food and items meant for other people to use. To clean infected surfaces, apply a disinfectant effective against noroviruses.

To stop the spread of noroviruses, dispose of faces and vomit carefully, use disposable gloves and throwaway towels to absorb the material, remove contaminated items from the air as soon as you can, wash and dispose of any potentially contaminated clothing and linens, and wait two to three days after your symptoms have improved before travelling.

Also Read: Actinomycosis Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Types

Complications Of Norovirus Infection

Most people's norovirus infections usually resolve in a few days and pose no serious health risks. But certain people can get a severe case of norovirus infection; these include small children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, people suffering from other illnesses, and expectant mothers. A norovirus infection can cause extreme dehydration or even death.

Among the warning signs of dehydration are:

  • Tired
  • Parched lips and throat
  • Pain 
  • Dizziness 
  • Decreased urine production
  • Dehydrated children could cry, but hardly much at all. They could be quite grumpy or sleepy.

Also Read: Mucormycosis : Types, Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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