|This colorized transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by norovirus virions, or virus particles.|
How serious is norovirus disease?
People may feel very sick and vomit many times a day, but most people get better within 1 or 2 days, and they have no long-term health effects related to their illness. However, sometimes people are unable to drink enough liquids to replace the liquids they lost because of vomiting and diarrhea. These persons can become dehydrated and may need special medical attention. This problem with dehydration is usually only seen among the very young, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems. See PHIL 10705 for a black and white version of this image.
How do people become infected with noroviruses?
Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:
- eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus;
- touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth;
- having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill).