7 things to know about norovirus

Norovirus has been in the public eye of late, with outbreaks closing down schools and cropping up in healthcare settings this winter.

Here are seven things to know about the highly contagious virus, according to the CDC.

1. Noroviruses are nonenveloped, single-stranded RNA viruses that cause gastroenteritis.

2. Across all ages, 16 percent of all acute gastroenteritis is caused by norovirus. It contributes to 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths each year on average.

3. Typical symptoms of a norovirus infection include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Some people may have a fever and headaches.

4. There is no specific treatment for gastroenteritis caused by a norovirus infection. Since dehydration is the most common complication, treatment can include replacing fluids, either orally or through an IV.

5. Noroviruses spread through infected stool and vomit. It usually happens through contaminated food, by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then putting fingers in your moth, or having contact with someone who is infected.

6. Healthcare facilities were the most common location for norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. From 2009 through 2012, 62.7 percent of reported norovirus outbreaks occurred in healthcare facilities. Restaurants or banquet facilities were the second most common outbreak location, with 22.1 percent of outbreaks occurring there.

7. The CDC offers a guideline for preventing and dealing with norovirus outbreaks in healthcare settings. Access that document here.

More articles on infectious diseases:
CDC: Flu hospitalizations, outpatient visits continue to rise
Antibiotics primary driver for rise in C diff infections, study finds
Experts reveal new information on heater-cooler-related infections: 7 things to know

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