Norovirus Infection - Symptoms and Causes - Medtalks

Norovirus Infection - Symptoms and Causes - Medtalks


Norovirus is a highly infectious gastrointestinal virus. It is easily transmitted by coming into touch with an infected individual, either directly or indirectly. In close quarters, such as hospitals, schools, and day care facilities, it may spread swiftly.The majority of people getting infected have had exposure to norovirus at some point of time. Food poisoning can also be caused by norovirus, contracted by eating contaminated food. Vomiting and watery, non-bloody diarrhoea are the most common norovirus symptoms. These symptoms often appear 12 to 48 hours after exposure and might continue up to three days. The majority of people recover completely. Rest and rehydration are the only treatments available. Dehydration is the most serious consequence. 

Signs & Symptoms of Norovirus

Infection symptoms often appear between 12 to 48 hours after you've been exposed to the virus. They might vary in severity from minor to severe. The following are some of the indications and symptoms of norovirus:

  • Low-grade fever 

  • Chills 

  • Nausea and vomiting 

  • Abdominal cramps 

  • Discomfort 

  • Watery stools or diarrhoea

  • Headache

  • Stomach ache

  • Pains throughout the body

Symptoms linger anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. Dehydration can result from severe diarrhoea, which is treated as a medical emergency. The following are signs and symptoms of dehydration:

  • Dryness of throat and mouth 

  • Sunken eyes

  • Reduced urine outflow 

  • No wet diaper for 6 to 8 hours in newborns

  • No urine in 12 hours for children

  • Drowsiness

  • Exhaustion

  • Headache

  • Dizziness

  • Loss of skin turgor

If your child screams but does not shed tears, he or she is most likely dehydrated. Seek medical help as soon as possible. They may also be irritable and cranky.

Treatment of Norovirus


Stay at home and get some rest if you encounter any of the above mentioned symptoms.

Replenish Fluids

Drink a lot of water. Oral hydration solutions are advised for all ages to replenish electrolytes. They're especially important for babies and youngsters.

Maintain Proper Diet

While being rehydrated, infants should continue to be breastfed or fed formula. Some good alternatives for toddlers and adults as their appetites grow are:

  • Rice

  • Soup 

  • Eggs

  • Boiled Potatoes and vegetables

  • Fresh fruits

  • Yogurt

  • Lean proteins, like chicken and fish

Incubation Period of Norovirus

The average time between initial encounter and first symptoms of a noroviral infection, or the incubation period, is between 12 to 48 hours, with a median length of 33 hours.If required, the virus can be recognised in a stool sample taken within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. Norovirus can be identified in faeces for up to 14 days or longer in rare circumstances.

How Contagious is Norovirus?

The norovirus is exceedingly infectious. Here's why it's so contagious:

  • Infective virus does 18 virus particles.

  • The virus has a brief incubation time. 

  • The virus is tough and may persist outside your body for several days.

Transmission of Norovirus

A few factors might enhance your chances of contracting the norovirus, including:

  • Visiting a hospital or public places

  • Contact with an infected individual

  • Sharing food

  • Having food in unclean utensils.

The fecal-oral route is the most common way for norovirus to spread. However, it can also transmit via droplets.

Indirect transmission can also occur, such as when food, drinks, or surfaces get infected.

Preventing Norovirus

There is no vaccination to prevent it, but norovirus transmission can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Maintain proper hand hygiene 

  • Handle contaminated clothing with care

  • Wash well before chopping or eating any vegetable

  • Do not consume raw fish

  • Stay at home if you're unwell

The Bottom Line

Consult your doctor for a possible noroviral infection, if:

  • You're sick with a fever

  • You're experiencing increased thirst

  • You have severe diarrhoea that lasts longer than three days

  • You're having bloody stools

  • You have a major pre-existing medical condition

Diarrhea that lasts more than three days might cause serious dehydration issues. You may need to be admitted to the hospital to obtain intravenous fluids. 




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