The Norovirus: A Study in Puked Perfection

Today, The Guardian relayed one of those stunning medical stories that causes me to clean off my glasses and take another look to make sure I’m reading it clearly. They report that an outbreak of norovirus in Britain this winter has struck more than 1.1 million people with vomiting and diarrhea.

That’s right: 1.1 million. In Britain alone.

What is this fearsome bug, you may be asking, and why isn’t it the subject of a Hollywood horror movie?

Noroviruses are one of virology’s great open secrets. In a recent issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, Aron Hall of the Centers for Disease Control declared, “Noroviruses are perhaps the perfect human pathogen.”

Here’s what inspires awe in scientists like Hall.

Each norovirus carries just nine protein-coding genes (you have about 20,000). Even with that skimpy genetic toolkit, noroviruses can break the locks on our cells, slip in, and hack our own DNA to make new noroviruses. The details of this invasion are sketchy, alas, because scientists haven’t figured out a good way to rear noroviruses in human cells in their labs. It’s not even clear exactly which type of cell they invade once they reach the gut. Regardless of the type, they clearly know how to exploit their hosts. Noroviruses come roaring out of the infected cells in vast numbers. And then they come roaring out of the body. Within a day of infection, noroviruses have rewired our digestive system so that stuff comes flying out from both ends.

To trigger diarrhea, the viruses alter the intestinal lining, causing cells to dump out their fluids, which then gets washed out of the body–along with many, many, many noroviruses. Each gram of feces contains around five billion noroviruses. (Yes, billion.)

Noroviruses also make us puke. And if you can gather enough strength to think clearly about this, virus-driven vomit is a pretty remarkable manipulation of a host. Vomiting occurs when our nerves send signals that swiftly contract the muscles lining the stomach. Vomiting does us a lot of good when we’re hurling out some noxious substance that would do us harm. But repeated projectile vomiting of the sort that noroviruses cause serve another function: they let the viruses to find a new host.

To get us to throw up so violently, noroviruses must tap into our nervous systems, but it’s not clear how they do so. Here’s one particularly creepy hint: some studies indicate that during a norovirus infection, our stomachs slow down the passage of food into the intestines. In other words, they seem to load up the stomach in preparation for vomiting. Every particle of that stored food is a potential vehicle for noroviruses when it comes flying out of the mouth.

Once the norovirus emerges from its miserable host, it has to survive in the environment. Noroviruses have no trouble doing so, it seems. Fine droplets released from sick people can float through the air and settle on food, on countertops, in swimming pools. They can survive freezing and heating and cleaning with many chemical disinfectants. In 2010, scientists surveyed a hospital for noroviruses and found 21 different types sitting on a single countertop. It takes fewer than twenty noroviruses slipping into a person’s mouth to start a new infection.

This natural history makes for Olympic-level feats of transmission. In 2010, for example, nine members of a girl’s soccer team got sick with noroviruses while on a trip for a tournament in Oregon. The outbreak began with one girl coming down with stomach pains one Saturday evening. She moved from her hotel room to stay with a chaperone, where she then had diarrhea and vomited through the night. The chaperone took her back home in the morning (and also became sick later). Only on Tuesday did the rest of her team get sick.

Epidemiologists figured out that the first step in the transmission took place in the chaperone’s hotel room. There was a reusable grocery bag sitting in the bathroom–which the first girl never touched as she went in and out through the night. The next day, another chaperone got the bag and brought it to another hotel room for lunch. It contained sealed containers of chips, cookies, and grapes. Seven of the eleven people who ate that food got sick.

Another display of the norovirus’s tenacity came with a study of a New Zealand plane in which an infected passenger threw up on the floor of the economy section. A flight attendant cleaned up the mess, and over the next week, the plane continued to fly without any cases of vomiting. Nevertheless, the norovirus managed to infect new hosts. Out of 63 flight attendants who worked in the plane over the next six days, 29 got sick–an attack rate of 42.9%.

No one can say how the current outbreak in Britain got its start, but its timing is typical: January is peak norovirus season. Places where people are in close quarters are especially good incubators for the virus. The Queen Mary II, for example, is currently getting scrubbed down after a bad outbreak. But cruise ships are hardly the only place where noroviruses thrive. Schools get cleared out from time to time by the pathogens (the name norovirus comes from Norwalk, Ohio, where it was first isolated from a school during a 1968 outbreak). Nursing homes are fertile ground, too, in part because people there often have weak immune systems. While healthy people can clear out a norovirus after a couple of exhausting days, the virus can cling to people with weak immune systems for months or even years.

Noroviruses are so good at spreading that it’s quite likely that at some point in your life, you’ve had a norovirus infection. (You may have wrongly called it a stomach flu. Flu–short for influenza–only infects people’s airways.) It’s estimated that in the United States alone, noroviruses infect at least 23 million people a year. Seventy thousand of them end up hospitalized, and nearly 800 die. Things are worse in developing countries, where people are less likely to get rigged to an IV to get pumped full of fluids. It’s estimated that noroviruses kill 200,000 children under the age of five every year in developing countries.

It would be very nice if we only had to worry about getting noroviruses once and then could enjoy protection from them for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, it seems that we only have a brief protection of perhaps a few months, and then we’re fair game again. As a strain of norovirus encounters this short-lived defense, it evolves new ways to evade our immune systems. A modified strain can then sweep around the world in as little as three months.

While some drugs show promise in blocking noroviruses from infecting cells, none have passed muster in a clinical trial on people. The best hope to put a real dent in the reign of noroviruses may be vaccines. Last year, scientists at Baylor College of Medicine reported that a vaccine could provide some protection against the virus. When people were exposed to noroviruses, 69% of people who got the placebo became sick, compared to only 37% of the vaccinated subjects.

A vaccine that leaves more than a third of people vulnerable to a virus is not exactly a silver bullet. But against such a perfect pathogen, even a little relief can ease a lot of pain.

For more information, check out norovirus expert Stephanie Karst talking about noroviruses with the gang at This Week in Virology. For viruses in general, see my book A Planet of Viruses

[Image: German Cancer Research Center]

(Update 5:30 pm: Changed England to Britain and fixed some typos. 7:30 am: corrected Norfolk to Norwalk, clarified timing of British outbreak)

Postscript, 1/5/13: When I wrote this post, I had no idea that, thanks to Reddit, it would draw the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers. A lot of those readers have asked how to get rid of norovirus. Looking over their questions, I realized that I should add some practical advice along with the natural history.

In my original post, I wrote that it resists bleaching. That’s a bit misleading, and it made a lot of readers worry that the virus was totally unstoppable. So I’ve revised the passage, changing “bleaching” to “chemical disinfectants.” Norovirus is one tough virus, and a little bleach may not be enough to wipe it out. You CAN kill noroviruses with a lot of bleach, although scientists can’t say for sure how much will work. The trouble comes back to what I mentioned above: they can’t raise human noroviruses in culture. So they do the next best thing and test out the noroviruses they can raise–ones that infect cat and mice. We can only hope that human noroviruses work the same way.

So–here’s what you can do to get rid of noroviruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

–Bleach-cleaning: “Because of this uncertainty, whenever possible, chlorine bleach solution should be applied to hard, nonporous, environmental surfaces at a concentration of 1,000–5,000 ppm (5–25 tablespoons household bleach [5.25%] per gallon of water).” Bathrooms, door knobs, and other places where the virus is likely to be lurking when someone’s sick in the house should be on the to-clean list.

–Hand-washing: “Overall, studies suggest that proper hand washing with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to reduce norovirus contamination on the hands.” Forget all the fancy alcohol and antibiotic-laced potions.

–Don’t be Mister Tough Guy; stay at home!--“Considering the highly infectious nature of norovirus, exclusion and isolation of infected persons are often the most practical means of interrupting transmission of virus and limiting contamination of the environment.”

224 thoughts on “The Norovirus: A Study in Puked Perfection

  1. it can cause such violent dehydration from both ends that it dramatically disrupts blood chemistry and can cause massive involuntary muscle seizures. (as it did in my son a while back.)

  2. Thanks; I never understood why I’ve had it twice, thus far, in 3 years. Never forget the 1st time; in wonderment it was physically possible to emit with such force from both ends simultaneously, mid outburst!

  3. If I remember correctly, there is no Norfolk, Ohio. There’s a Norwalk, Ohio though — and the virus is tied to the high school there…

  4. Just a point of correction: You state it originated in “Norfolk” Ohio – the virus is labeled the Norwalk virus, after the town of Norwalk Ohio – nor Norfolk

    [CZ: Thanks–not sure how I mentally swapped those. Fixed!]

  5. Um, clean those glasses again, because you ARE reading it incorrectly. They reckon that 1.1m people in Britain got stomach flu SO FAR this winter, not 1.1m CURRENTLY. Typically it only lasts a few days, so there’d probably be only a few tens of thousands with it at any given moment.

    [CZ: Thanks for pointing that out. I meant to imply that they’ve gotten it this winter (ie, the past few weeks). I’ll adjust the text.]

  6. Too bad they haven’t quite figured out how the virus works yet. I was living with my girlfriend’s family for a while when they had it and it never got me. I was often wondering why that is.

  7. “To get us to throw up so violently, noroviruses must tap into our nervous systems, but it’s not clear how they do so. ”

    I don’t see how this is necessarily true. CuSO4 is an emetic. You don’t need to always ‘tap into’ the nervous system to elicit a neurally mediated response.

    [CZ: I don’t think we’re disagreeing here. CuSO4 interacts with neurons to make people vomit. There’s no clear evidence that noroviruses encodes its own vomit-triggering protein, but it may cause a cascade of changes to the stomach that have effects on the stomach. Nobody knows quite what’s going on, though.]

  8. One Thanksgiving, almost forty of us caught this! Oh, the symphony of toilets that night. Where’s our Norovirus blockbuster? I see potential here, Michael Bay…a whole new type of explosion for you!

  9. “A vaccine that leaves more than a third of people vulnerable to a virus is not exactly a silver bullet.”

    Actually that sounds about right to me. It’s enough to severly reduce the spread of the infection, while not enough to force the virus to mutate into more virulent forms like MRSA has.

  10. ” It takes less than twenty noroviruses slipping into a person’s mouth to start a new infection.”

    Nope. In fact it takes *fewer* than twenty noroviruses slipping into a person’s mouth to start a new infection.

    This is basic grammar…

    [CZ: You do know how blogs work, right? I don’t have a full-time copy editor sitting next to me, getting paid to correct my mistakes. I write my blog posts, check them as best I can, and then post them. I then express my gratitude to people who take the time to point out to me any typos I made, and then I revise my posts to fix them. So: thank you for pointing out this error. It is now fixed. If, however, it causes you so much pain to read this violation of basic grammar, no one demands that you prolong the torture by lingering here in order to leave a comment. By the way: in your comment, there’s an extra space after the first quotation mark. This is basic punctuation. You’re welcome.]

    1. Not only is there an extra space before the punctuation, he/she is using the closed quotes where opening quotes should be.

  11. This is reoccurring every year in Sweden. Between November and April with peaks in February it leaves a lot of empty seats in schools and workplaces. The Swdish, very fitting name, is “winter-vomit-illness” .

    However about 20% of mankind are immune. Scientists noticed that people with bloodtype B more rarely got sick. The investigated, and a bunch of people with type B blood, have a gene called FUT2. That gene helps create some enzyme hat does something to the virus. It doesn’t stick somehow. I’m sure someone more educated than me can read up on FUT2.

    So thats another 20% immune. Yay.

    [CZ: Thanks for the tip! Here is an open-access paper on how mutations to FUT2 block the norovirus.]

  12. “By the way: in your comment, there’s an extra space after the first quotation mark. This is basic punctuation. You’re welcome.”

    hehe awesome 😛

    also, good article. this reminds me of the game Pandemic. All the virus needs to do now is develop a lethal symptom and we are all screwed… kinda scary

  13. Thanks. I would be really interested to know how long a virus would survive/stay infectious after having been ‘ejected’ from either end. Should a bathroom be thoroughly cleaned after a sick person uses it? And after say three weeks? ( My neighbor is a bachelor, see… 🙂

  14. Great article CZ. However, the quote

    “It’s estimated that in the United States alone, noroviruses infect at least 23 million people a year. Seventy thousand of them end up hospitalized, and nearly 800 die. ”

    Is based off a 1999 CDC paper. That paper is outdated, and has been replaced by Scallan et al 2011,


  15. I’m a copy editor and full time translator and I fail to see any major grammatical difficulties with less than. The use of fewer might seem to some to be more elegant, although it does add a syllable.

  16. I would love to see more research done on this virus. Is there any collaboration with studies on the Feline Coronavirus (the virus that causes the fatal condition known as FIP)? I understand that the two are genetically similar (single strand RNA viruses) and I would love to see a successful treatment for both.

  17. I’m an American, so is my husband. We traveled to Banff in Alberta, Canada, for our honeymoon in October of this year. In the middle of the week, he got it. We thought it was food poisoning. Three days later, I got it, and ended up in the hospital. I was so weak I couldn’t walk on my own from vomiting/going to the restroom for over 24 hours. They gave me fluids and that seemed to help. It took me a good many days to get back to normal though. The doctors were wonderful in the hospital, and they said it was a virus. I really think this is what I had. I’ve never been that sick before. I’m sure either my husband or I picked it up in an airport. Scary, right?

  18. With around 7 BILLION virus-like parasites aka humans infesting the planet the herd is in desperate need of culling.

    The planet and the bio-sphere cries out for a pandemic to whittled down to numbers of pestilential humans to perhaps 1 billion or so.

    1. Do you have kids? If you do you are an hypocrite lol. Or do you put yourself to suffer and be one fo the eliminated? Some hate you have brewing there, dunno if it helps the ecosystem feel better.

  19. I had this, got so weak, dehydrated, passed out, needed iv fluids. this is one wicked virus!! yes my grammer is not offended,

  20. I think I’m immune to this virus. I’ve never had it in my life, yet I’ve been around sick people spewing from both ends quite a few times. I should have gotten it but I didn’t. I’m guessing I’m in the 20% that are immune to it.

  21. For over a century scientists have been wondering what selective pressures if any might be maintaining the ABO blood types in human populations. It appears that noroviruses play a large part in the maintenance of these biochemical differences between individuals. Different strains of noroviruses use ABO cell surface glycans (short sugar chains covering every cell in our bodies) to recognize and attach to their human host. ABO types are defined by slightly different oligosaccharides assembled in the cells by enzymes including FUT2 mentioned above. To make matters worse, similar glycans are found inside oysters…..usually consumed in large amounts on cruise ships…..and other fancy places (see here

  22. I’ve been suffering from emetophobia (fear of vomiting) for all my life, and this article scares the hell out of me.
    However, your writing style made me laugh out loud, and that makes up for a lot 🙂

  23. By the way: I think I had this, a few years ago.
    My dad started, and exactly 36 hours later, I followed.
    However, we both only had diarrhea (albeit the explosive kind). Neither of us vomited.
    Is it possible that only your intestines are affected, or does Noro always affect both stomach and intestines?

    [CZ: Yes.]

  24. You do know how comments on blogs work, right? I skim a well-researched, interesting article written in an accessible and easy-reading fashion telling me things that I hadn’t known before about a curious bit of the world and then I leave a supercilious comment about an utterly trivial pedantry to show all the world that I am smarter than them dummies on the Interwebs. I’m not interested in adding anything of substance and certainly don’t care about how much time I spend caviling in public. This is basic narcissism.

    [CZ: Finally, it all makes sense! 😉 ]

  25. Strange thing, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked in a ward where someone was diagnosed with norovirus. Despite many nurses helping clean up the mess, none of us contracted the virus and neither did any other patients. Reading this I feel incredibly lucky that I didnt take it home to my family.

  26. I’m sitting at home recovering from the end-stages of Norovirus (it’s been a pretty miserable week), and I’ve noticed something… I never, ever vomit from these sort of infections.

    It’s something I’m very thankful for, as diarrhoea is miserable enough. Is this a common thing, and why do some people vomit and others not?

    [CZ: Some people just get the diarrhea, some people just vomit, and some people do both.]

  27. I would just like to say, I found this blog to be very interesting. I did know about this virus before, but never knew the particulars. Thank you for letting people know! As to the “Nit Pickers” find a new hobby, and learn to “Nit Pick” your ownblogs, as I am sure you make plenty of mistakes your self! Yes I found that I was laughing so hard when one of the “Nit Pickers” made a common mistake and did not realize it at all!
    I too have suffered from this virus, and sadly gave it to several family members. Most of us got well fast, except me. I have very little to almost no immune system left, from going thru Chemo and Radiation three seprate times in my life. (Sorry if the spelling is not up to par “Nit Pickers”.) It took me almost six months to get back to feeling like my old self again. Nasty and so violent virus this Norovirus! Pray I never encounter it ever again! I was in the hospital for almost three weeks! Anyway thank you for you wonderful blog!

  28. We couldn’t figure out what it was. My sister had it at thanksgiving and a couple days later everyone that we had had over had it too. My brother went to the doctor and he said that it was some kind of virus. I was at home vomiting and having diarrhea.

  29. I am recovering from what appears to have been infection with Norovirus. The seige started with a two year old in my care at the time of her waves of vomiting. Her parents took charge in time for more vomiting and diarrhea. Thirty-six hours later, I was vomiting for several hours. Two hours after that, the parents were under seige. Interestingly enough, my husband, who help me clean up after each bout of the child’s illness and was with me during mine, is still not sick, six days later. He has blood type A. The child and parents recovered within 36 hours. My illness lingers with nausea. Not fun!

  30. In Syracuse, NY we refer to this as the “winter vomiting virus.” Intermittent outbreaks are pretty common all through the Central NY State region during the winter months.

  31. Thank you, but actually I tried to ask something else, let me clarify: If someone, due to a weakened immune system, gets stuck with a prolonged norovirus infection, do the ‘resident’ noros stop the ‘alien’ noros from entering the human biome? If that is so, the norovirus found a way to create human reservoirs for storing norovirus genetic diversity.

  32. With regards to the questions about research, education, and control of noroviruses, I point interested readers to the USDA-NIFA Food Virology Collaborative (NoroCORE). We are a team of researchers, educators, and associated stakeholders interested in understanding and controlling norovirus transmission through foods. Actually, did you know, noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne disease in the U.S.? For more information, please consult our website at ( Thanks, CZ, for bringing this important public health issue to public attention.

  33. This article does a great job of explaining how important it is for people to STAY HOME if you think you might have a stomach bug!! Extremely contagious! Please do NOT TOUGH IT OUT. Stay HOME.

  34. I get this every year that it comes around, miserable situation. Just got over it actually. As soon as this is going around town, I get it.

    About three years ago when my kids were really small, I had it four times in a single year.

    1. Great article, thanks!
      Hilarious comments, too 🙂

      I was wondering: every time I’ve had ‘stomach flu’ in my life, it started in the evening or at night.
      Same thing with my parents and my boyfriend.
      Is there a reason for this? Or is it just a coincidence?

  35. This is the biggest load of tripe I have read for a long time. There is no such things as a virus. None have ever been demonstrated. All ill-health is nutritional unless caused by toxic materials or accidental injury.

    If you did a little more research and did not believe in the Main Sewer Media, you could not put your name to this Fantasy Tale about ‘pathogens’.

    Here’s health.

  36. So, is straight bleach & Lysol completely ineffective at killing the virus on hard surfaces? I once called the Clorox hotline wondering if their wipes were suitable for killing stomach bugs & they told me the wipes only kill what’s stated (which weren’t too many organisms); they suggested using straight bleach &/or Lysol spray as those kill more. Other than fire, what can be used to kill norovirus on surfaces?

  37. The grammar nitpicker forgot to add the following: “If you get such basic grammar wrong, how can we trust ANY of the ‘facts’ you have cited here?” and he/she forgot to close with “You have lost ALL credibility”

  38. I had a norovirus when in college. We had such a huge outbreak on campus that the Student Health Services sent out letters to all of the Resident Assistants and Hall Managers telling them how they should help sick students without sending them to the campus clinic. Since I had no roommate and was medicated with Phenergan, I ended up sleeping on a cot in the hallway with a privacy screen around me. I was neither given rehydration nor was I told how to start eating again so that I would regain my health. Two days later I was still so sick that I was hallucinating. It took me a month to bounce back. Ultimately the Delaware Department of Public Health was unable to isolate the virus but the final report indicates that whatever virus it was, was spread through infected ICE… Ice that was not only used in drinks but also to keep dining hall food cold during distribution from the main storage and processing facility.

  39. Actually the outbreak in the UK is not much different from any other year, it’s just that they started recording the numbers earlier in the year in 2012. It’s a really good article though, thanks for the enjoyable read.

  40. I got this virus somewhere a few weeks ago. I don’t know where. It quickly spread from me to my coworkers to my family to a Christmas party etc etc. It spread like WILDFIRE.

  41. If bleach does not kill this virus, what does?

    [CZ: Lots and lots of bleach–probably. See my postscript.]

  42. Phred, not only are viruses real, we have actually constructed the RNA for one from scratch and created an active virus.

    I recommend you get yourself a new tinfoil hat.

  43. Phred! You poor misguided soul. Viruses are very very real and have been studied and replicated and modified in labs and hospitals world wide. I suggest you see to enhancing your own education.

  44. When pure bleach does not kill the virus then grab a nit picker and wipe that stuff up.Thanks for the info because knowing is cool.

  45. Viruses are facinating rogue protein sack lurking the planet…just what the hell is their biological purpose since most of them are histologically distructuve. Their effect could argualbly be natures design for preventing overpopulation of a particular specie. From the genotypic descriptions I’ve read a virus seems to be a ‘runaway’ set of DNA genes. How do they become a separate entity, with reproductive capabilities and again, how and why are they here?….especially interesting is how they’ve become so chemically sophisticated>?

  46. the only remarkable episode I experienced involving distress at both ends, happened in southern Germany. The most pain I’ve ever experienced involved what I would call ‘ high pressure bowel relief ‘ and very similar to the various descriptions of a trist with norovirus. Aside from the incredible cyclic intestinal pain involved, the most remarkable aspect of the short lived illness, was the high pressure of ‘expulsion’….like someone holding a high pressure hose over the toilet…from both ends. Ugly painful…I thought it was from a poorly tended late night gasthoouse dinner…but maybe not!

  47. Hi
    I am a “norovirologist” and enjoyed reading your article. I would like to add that it IS possible to control it, shown from studies in hospitals. Discipline in handwashing already does a lot, even without using bleach.
    And also important that people with immunospuppression that get it need to be checked because they may have a hard time getting rid of the virus. Finally, i second lee ann’s comment on foodborne ansmission, just last fall for instance when over 10.000 school kids in germany got ill

  48. Great article. Good to point out that the virus can be controlled (frequent hand washing) and for ill foodhandlers to stay away from preparing food for at least 48-72h. Also many folks may have missed it but Hillary Clinton also got affected with (likely) norovirus during a trip in Europe which caused her to become dehydrated, fainted, concussion, blood cloth. Norovirus can be live threatening (primarily in the elderly but also secretaries of state.

  49. I had a clash with “Ol’ Nora” several years back and she certainly packed a punch and half! I felt thoroughly purged after 24 hrs in the bathroom! I’m now somewhat ritualistic with my handwashing and glove wearing! For me the only positive thing about the current significant outbreak is that more people are starting to recognise how incredibly contagious it is! Many people at work hadn’t even heard of it until this year let alone knowing just exactly what it is capable of doing to your unsuspecting innards! I really think it would be a beneficial if there were some public health announcements during ad breaks on TV. Hand-washing is SO crucial to stopping this illness (and so many others for that matter!) and it needs to be hammered into the national psyche! Bring on the vaccine!

  50. Thanks for the great article, which not only explains what ailed me last month, but confirms something I keep telling people: that flu only infects people’s airways. So many people seem to NOT want to believe this. It’s bewildering.

  51. Fantastic article! I’m certain my sensitivity to your writing was entirely attributable to my present noroventure. This supremely virulent xmas gift was from my visiting parents…but I showed no symptoms until they were several days over it…how long are these viruses contagious? I’m concerned about bringing it to work.

  52. The yearly interest in the progress of seasonal spread of the virus seems to have been increasing in recent years (say, that last 10). Is that true, and if so is it because the virus is getting worse – more widespread and causing worse illness – or is it simply the current media fad?

    1. @evilDoug: right on!
      @everyone else: the good news is that there may well be both conventional virus-like particle vaccines (=made in cell cultures) and non-conventional (=made in plants) available for noroviruses quite soon – which might have to be given/changed every year like flu vaccines to counter the constant antigenic shifting of the viruses, but that is less of a problem than one might imagine.

      Except for the people most affected, who live in developing countries.


  53. Phred said: “All ill-health is nutritional unless caused by toxic materials or accidental injury.”
    OMG!! I’ve just wasted the last 38 years of my life, working on things that don’t exist!! Thanks so much for pointing that out!! Guess I’d better throw out the last twelve years’ worth of work on vaccines, too?

  54. Re how long are these viruses contagious: people may shed virus for weeks after they recover, but a study in hospitals showed that healthcareworkers shedding virus hardly transmitted the virus (check Sukhrie et al. Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Apr;54(7):931-7. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir971. Epub 2012 Jan 30).. In short: shedding the virus is not equal to being contagious, this is where handwashing comes in. But bottomline message: you may be shedding the virus for weeks after recovery. And quite a few people get infected without ever getting sick. Asymptomatic persons have triggered outbreaks. What also is a known problem is persistance of the virus in the environment. Think of dorknobs, light switches. These are places where virus can be found if there is a sick person around, for instance after puking.

    Yes, it does get quite juicy…..

  55. “Forget all the fancy alcohol and antibiotic-laced potions.”
    That is not supported by the CDC article cited, at least to the extent of the implication that they are useless.
    The CDC paper makes it clear that alcohol-based sanitizers may be effective, but that assessment is extremely difficult. While washing with soap and running water is known to be effective, it is really quite difficult to carry enough water for a 20 second hand wash in your pocket. A sanitizer still may be worthwhile as a stop-gap measure after you’ve been clutching the plague pole on the bus or train.
    Apart from the weird measure (5 to 25 tablespoons – good grief! 1/3 to 1-1/2 cups), the recommendation for bleach solution omits any surfactant, yet mention is made of long exposure times being valuable, especially on dried films. Bleach solution alone wets hard surfaces remarkably poorly. Has no one evaluated bleach with a wee splash of almost any old detergent?

  56. @Ed Rybicki January 7, 2013
    I always amuses me how such Bozos instruct actual professional research scientists to “do more research”, by which they always mean “read stuff on the internet”.

    1. @evilDoug & others:

      I once had the briefest of briefs on hygiene for healthcare workers.

      As I was then told: ‘bleech doesn’t clean, it only kills’

      Mr Zimmer, or any other scientist, please correct me if I’m wrong about this.
      But, from what I remember, what was meant was this: when there’s still organic material present, the desinfecting qualities of bleech become defunct. So, in other words: if someone has vomited, you can’t just wipe it off with a lot of bleech. You have to make sure every trace of vomit is removed, with loads and loads of water. Only then, you (have to!) clean the now seemingly clean surface with bleech, to remove the still present virus particles.

  57. Dear Mr. Zimmer,
    only now, I noticed that I seem to have posted my first comment as a reply to someone else’s. The comment, about always getting sick at night, was meant as a ‘normal’, seperate one. I would love if you could answer my question!
    Kind regards.

    (also, given the spellingpolice on this forum: could you please, please correct the word ‘bleech’, as used in my last comment…?)

  58. @That Guy

    Sorry to spoil your day but please bear in mind that just because you haven’t contracted the virus yet, by no means guarantees you won’t in the future. The Norovirus is a hell of a nasty piece of work. I have contracted it once and would not recommend it. Particular attention needs to paid to hygiene in the kitchen when preparing food and cooking meat properly through the required temperatures for the minimum length of time. Anyone could develop agoraphobia over this. At the end of the day, there needs to be sensible, consistent and clearly understandable scientific and medical advice spread across the world to inform everyone, young and old, of the best precautions and treatment to take against this hideous virus.

  59. @ Katya
    “But, from what I remember, what was meant was this: when there’s still organic material present, the desinfecting qualities of bleech become defunct”
    That is pretty much correct. Bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) is a fairly strong oxidizing agent, and will react with all sorts of things. Where there is gross contamination, the “unwanted” reactions may leave too little hypochlorite to do the intended job, in this case leaving a surface disinfected. Strong solutions can help, but they can be hazardous to handle, so there is always a trade-off.
    However, if what is being cleaned up poses a hazard to someone subsequently using the surface, it also poses a (potentially worse) hazard to the person doing the cleaning. It may be prudent to use a bleach solution, or some other disinfectant, right from the outset to at least partially kill pathogens on and in the material. This might mean careful spray application of disinfectant and allowance of some time for it to do its job.
    Bleach isn’t unique in this way. Some disinfectants are very sensitive to certain types of contamination. Soap or anionic detergents (most “ordinary” detergents are anionic or a blend of anionic with non-ionic) can virtually completely inactivate things like the quaternary ammonium compounds (“quats”) mentioned in the CDC article. Quats are cationic detergents, so when you mix them with anionic detergents, you get something like sodium chloride and a big organic molecule of no use whatever. (The spray many fast-food restaurants use on tables is a “quat”. It needs to be left in a wet film for several minutes to be effective.)
    I mentioned adding detergent to bleach solution. Here, the detergent would serve almost entirely as a “wetting agent”, which helps the bleach solution to form a continuous film instead of “beading” on a surface, plus it helps the solution to penetrate any porous material. Not all detergents are good wetting agents, but types used for household cleaning generally are, and they are compatible with bleach.
    Bleach does have useful cleaning properties in that it can break down all sorts of organic goop, facilitating physical removal. Bleach bleaches because it breaks certain bonds in colored organic molecules, hopefully before it breaks too many bonds in the molecules of the fibre. Chlorine bleach is unsuitable for protein fibres (wool, silk) because it is really aggressive against them.

  60. @Vizzini- Love it. And watch out for the Iocaine powder, it will get you if you don’t watch out.

    I am guilty of the “Grammar Troll” behavior. However, I only torment those who are behaving badly. If an individual’s posts are both genial and easily understood, then grammatical errors should be overlooked. Also: embarrassing persons who ask genuine questions by exposing a minor point of ignorance in an otherwise obviously intelligent question is just mean. Troll MEAN people!!! Let decent folk be.

  61. I awoke Monday at 2:30am with terrible stomach pains out of the blue. I quickly realized that I was going to vomit and ran to the bathroom…where i spent the next 4 hours with, what I would call, violent vomiting and diahrea. i have been in bed since assuming I had a stomch flu. While listening to the news this morning, they actually started discussing norovirus…and i thougt that it sounded EXACTLY like what i have. So now I am reading about it on the internet and my symptoms are a 100% match. Thank you everyone. My husband arrives home Friday nigt from a two week

  62. Just finishng, did not mean to send: from a two week business trip in china….so I will be scrubbing this house down completely, assuming I can muster the energy.

  63. We had a massive extended family outbreak this Christmas and it was awful. I heard some crazy rumour that if you are exposed, but not yet showing symptoms, to drink 100% no-sugar added grape juice. That it changes the ph of your intestines and stops the virus from multiplying and you might not get sick. It sounds far fetched to me….have you heard about this?

  64. Thanks for your article! I live in nz and I think my one year old may have norovirus. He threw up the morning of his birthday party and has been pretty miserable and sick for almost a week! The strange thing is I haven’t contracted it, but his grandparents who looked after him for the afternoon & then his uncle, had all the symptoms (ie both ends). It concerns me that my baby has not been well for almost a week but some of the people he’s come into contact with, develop an acute reaction, which only lasts a couple of days.
    Strange huh!

  65. funny that i came across this post exactly one week to the day of coming down with this joyful virus (it interrupted my Downton Abbey viewing!) I can say that nothing is so delightful as (ahem) “sitting” on the toilet whilst vomiting into the bathtub. 36 hours being nearly comatose and too weak to eat (or even have the desire) but I made sure to drink watered down gatorade. I’m just grateful that my teenage son managed to avoid it, hopefully due to my enfeebled cleaning with clorox bathroom spray. I was so sick and so weak that I didn’t even bother to change the tv channel when The View came on!

  66. So, is norovirus the culprit in all “stomach bugs,” or is it just a particularly virulent variety?

    [CZ: The vast majority of what we call “stomach bugs” are noroviruses.]

  67. Will taking a daily probiotic supplement reduce Norovirus symptoms?

    [CZ: There’s only one study I know of, which found probiotics shortened the fever by about a day in old people. But it’s just one study, on a few dozen people. So, really, we have no idea.]

  68. “However about 20% of mankind are immune. Scientists noticed that people with bloodtype B more rarely got sick. The investigated, and a bunch of people with type B blood, have a gene called FUT2. That gene helps create some enzyme hat does something to the virus. It doesn’t stick somehow. I’m sure someone more educated than me can read up on FUT2.

    So thats another 20% immune. Yay.”
    Darn…I am B+ and just got done with a round of Norovirus. Perhaps the strains have adapted yet again.

  69. The figures for England and Wales are 1.26 million suffering from Norovirus over the past 12 months. Under 4000 per day and roughly 17 – 25 per 1000. So chances are you wont get it. Journalistic hype, I had it in Feb 2011 yeah its not great but you ride it out.

  70. Thank you for your article. I hate this virus. I was ill Christmas day 2011 with it (probably after being exposed during a 1 hour plane ride a couple of days prior). I have the virus again, I’m sure, as I have the very same symptoms I did last time. This time probably got it while at a banquet the other night. What gets me about it, is that people with type O blood are more susceptible—lucky me. I am praying my 2 year old doesn’t get it.

  71. My 2-year old daughter became suddenly and violently I’ll Saturday night. She committed several times and then slept for 12-18 hours. She had diarrhea for the next day. By Monday she was better. That evening it hit me, my 1-year old and my 10 year old. By Wednesday morning I was feeling better and so was my 10 year old. The baby continues to be fairly lethargic and continues with diarrhea. Wednesday afternoon my 3 year old started complaining again of a belly ache and she just threw up again! Is this the original infection or a new strain? Can the doctor do anything?

  72. I work in a 911 center where the keyboards & mice are used 24/7 & shared by whoever (whomever?) is sitting at that desk at the moment. Next time someone laughs at me for my obsessive Lysol spraying & Clorox wiping of every surface I will be touching for the next 12 hours, I’m going to show them this article. Thanks for the great article!

  73. It amazes me how people would rather point out how petty mistakes, how they disagree, punctuation or other such nonsense. It is a blog folks. Mr. Zimmer isn’t publishing on behalf of the CDC. He is passing along some useful information. Read it, don’t read it… I found it very interesting and whether it was 1.1 mil, Norwalk, Norway, Norwegian or North Dakota doesn’t really matter does it? It is a bad virus, stay home, stay healthy, wash your flippin’ hands. Geez! The internet provides a certain anonymity. Unfortunately it allows to act like a complete douche canoe.

  74. Ugh…can someone please work on a vaccine for this horrible virus! In my opinion it warrants the same attention that the seasonal flu gets as far as needing to vaccinate the masses. It makes people just as sick, makes people miss just as much work, kills people like the flu can, spreads as quickly…we need to focus on creating the vaccine asap! It is terrible that the public must live like this every winter, it’s seriously making me dread the fall season cuz I know what comes next. Another winter of norovirus outbreaks! Sick of it! Btw, people commented on “the tough guy muscleing through it to go to work”, also to be mentioned is the parents who stick their kids back in school before they are ready just because they can’t miss any more work! Too bad, if people would just be more morally responsible and less driven by $$ maybe we wouldn’t have to close school because of such bad outbreaks of this ridiculous virus. I’m just so sick of it, and I’m venting but seriously, I don’t remember these stomach viruses being this bad when I was a child. We had 4 kids in my family and yes we would all come down with the stomach flu but it would be like a 6 hr purging every 20 minutes or so and then it was DONE! My daughter gets it every year and I’m just so fed up with it, I would rather have seasonal flu than noro, I’ve had both on more than one occasion, and it’s always been noro that has landed me in the hospital. Seasonal flu is a lot easier to control at home if you are a generally healthy person, like myself. Rest, ibuprofen and fluids for the flu but noro unfortunately you can’t hydrate yourself because you just keep losing it and forget trying to control fever,can’t keep the medicine down long enough. Any ways….please create a vaccine asap!

  75. Concerned for all about the flu and norovirus outbreaks. Would you feel comfortable in an environment that uses continuous sterilization of serving utensils? This would help control the viruses.

  76. i have more of a question, my 2 year old was throwing up all over the place and naturally i took him to the er, he was running a low fever and no pooping, they said he had norovirus, i have had this myself in 2003, the worse thing i have ever had to deal with and it spread so fast…because he is the the only one with any sickness in my home and had a fever and no pooping and 2 days later he has a few rashes popping up…now i do know that some virus’s can bring a rash upon recovering but to me it doesnt seem like he had noro virus to begin with…has anyone else just thrown up with a low fever and a rash afterwards…or is this hospital just crazy..

  77. sounds like your child may have had symptoms of strep. vomiting, fever, and red rash on body very common in children. called scarlet fever way back in the day and many died because nothing we had as antibiotics back then or vaccines for that matter. hope this helps bonny.

  78. Hi – I’m interested in the blood type responses to the GII.4 norovirus outbreaks this year. My 10-year-old, my brother, and I just got back from a trip to see my dying granddad, and stayed with my uncle. My aunt drove in, and got sick with norovirus. We all thought it was food poisoning. The night we got back, my 10-year-old was sick all night. The next day, I got sick. My brother called and he got sick. My 10-year-old’s dad is now sick, and I’m worried about my husband (I’m remarried) and my 6-month-old. So far, they have avoided it. My husband is blood type AB- and my 6-month-old is A-. My brother, 10-year-old, and I are O+. I’m still suffering after 3 days, while others are already over it. I wonder if blood type A also offers resistance or immunity?

  79. I’v beensick for 2.7 days now,started with runny nose tuesday afternoon.Wensday stomach cramps started in am. still ongoing no vomiting or diarrhea and no fever,however the stomach cramps are very bad.Had appendoctomy in 1968 could this be norovirus

  80. My husband and I just got back from Hawaii. We both contracted the Norwalk virus on the Pride of America cruise ship. We were sick within 48 hours of boarding the ship. We will never cruise again.

  81. It wiped out my whole family this past week. My mom on Mon. morning, myself and my 3 yr old early Wed. morning, my husband and 11 month old on Friday night. I’ve never been so ill in my entire life…never seen my husband so sick and miserable and we’ve known each other for 12 years. It started suddenly….out of nowhere, I felt fine and then got a horrible achy upset stomach, like someone punched me in the gut. I lost all energy and I was supposed to be packing for a trip. Vomiting started a coule hours after the stomach pains began, and then the diarrhea began…it was comin out both ends….once happening at the same time (that was fun). I was sick for about 36-48 horrible hours. My 11 month old has finally started to get a little better, I was real worried about him because he wouldn’t drink any Pedialyte. It’s an awful bug, I would be worried about this one.

  82. I used the sterilize cycle on my washing machine to wash sheets and clothes after I had Norovirus. HOT water and a very very long cycle. Hadn’t been that sick for that long in 30+ years of adulthood (although in fairness the acute phase really only lasted 24 hours; it was the sudden fierce onset that was truly shocking. After that my own stubborn refusal to take patent medicines started to work against me). Here’s hoping I didn’t make any grammatical or punctuation errors in this post – we won’t know till it’s posted though, will we? 😉

  83. Haven’t had this one yet and hope to avoid it at all costs. Scared because of a Nissan wrap on my stomach… Could not imagine what the vomiting would do to it…. Vaccine come quickly…

  84. This virus is no joke. I am on my third day of suffering through this virus and starting to think there will be no relief. I vomited at least 15 times the first night. Now it’s moved to the opposite end and is not being nice about it. Hopefully I recover soon.

  85. Great article. Refreshing to get a scientific explanation – understanding what’s going on makes the suffering easier somehow. 3 members of my family were struck down within 24 hours and the infection has lasted 3 days so far. Meanwhile my one year old has showed no symptoms and is oblivious to our suffering. I read that breast milk protects a baby not through passing on antibodies but by lining the baby’s gut with a substance that blocks the entry of the virus into the baby’s cells. A lot of nursing mothers who are infected may think it better to isolate themselves from their babies when it seems the opposite is true. Also, if the blocking agent in the milk could be isolated and then produced in sufficient quantities could it be given to people with weak immune systems to help them avoid infection?

  86. I am gitting ovur this vires. Really … I ain’t kidding … It hurts, but your comments re grammar are so funny, I can’t help myself. In fact, in spite of this CRAP, you just made me laugh … And that’s a happy thing when you feel this sick. To all others, thanks for the advice. I just cancelled my guitar lesson … Will spend the day with my puppies, as I read that they probably can’t get this.

  87. The first time I had this thing was when I was 30 and living in Dayton all those years. I caught if after my then 13 month old puked all over and it got into my mouth. Yes, gross huh? I loved her too much to put her down so I took the hit. I’m now 49 and have had this thing at least 10 times. Last time I had it was in June 2012 when it swept thought my town. Needless to say, I am washing my hands all the time and bleaching.

  88. I am a high school Family and Consumer Science teacher (formerly Home Ec) and teach a food safety curriculum that classifies the norovirus as a foodborne illness. I am wondering how many norovirus cases are actually a result of contaminated food or water as opposed to other modes of transmission. According to my sources, the norovirus is responsible for 67% of all foodborne illness. Is this accurate?

  89. TJ’s comment made me think. I don’t think I’d had this nasty virus prior to Christmas 2011 (then I get it again January 2013). Are we more susceptible to it once we’ve had it once.
    I have another thing I’ve been wondering. My 2.5 year old had it in January as well. She vomited 3 times but never had diarrhea. At first I thought that was a good thing but now I’m not so sure. She’s had terrible gas for over 3 weeks, including burps, and stomach bloating. I’ve heard of other people having weeks of bad gas as well. I would expect a little after this virus as your intestinal bacteria gets back to normal (as I would assume the balance gets a little out of whack) but not weeks.

  90. I have recently contracted the norovirus from a party where 80 of the 90 people who were there also contracted the illness. The symptoms have all been the same: srious vomiting, diarhea, fever. However, I seemed to have had a milder case with only one bout of vomiting and no diarhea, but I have had severe middle and lowere back pain that continues all the way down the back of my legs. Can’t lay on my back because the pain in my tailbone is so severe and cannot stand the pain in my legs for very long. Has anyone else had these types of symptoms with this virus?

  91. “IT” assaulted me about 2 weeks ago. OMG. I totally just wanted to die. By morning I was still alive and, praise the Lord, was done throwing up. This thing is horrific and you say I can get it again?! (Viruses are kinda spooky little entities – some of them look like tiny spaceships. The alien invasion is underway.)

  92. I just had it. Awful. My doctor wisely advised ‘no dairy for three weeks after’ and gatorade/water mix during and after. Gradually getting back to eating something real and it has been one week since I got it in RI. My husband has used a different bathroom and we bleached Everything. He is ok so far.

  93. Wow that was brutal, and still lingering. I don’t no if it was the norovirus or what virus, but I must have threw up 50 times starting in middle of night done by sunlight,dry heeves, watery diarrhea. Slept the whole next day, except to drink water. I could not have went to doctors if i had to, could barely walk to kitchen the next day. Fever for the next 2 nights, stomach still messed up, day four. Not much of an appetite and eating soft foods. I would not wish this on anybody.

  94. Great article and the comments are hilarious. The bugs’ not though, as my family is currently infected. But, seriously, the grammar police need to chill. Since we mentioned it though, I’m wondering if ‘norovirus’ and ‘filovirus’, etc., is already plural? Would ‘noroviruses’ be a grammatical infraction? How about ‘norovirusii’? Not working for you? Oh, well,,,,,,,

  95. Interesting articles on information like this is a great find. It’s like finding a treasure. I appreciate how you express your many points and share in your views. Thank you.ugg

  96. Great article. Any evidence that avoiding dairy products post norovirus improves symptoms quicker or prevents lactose intolerance?

  97. Thanks for the great article. I’m currently holed up in a hotel in Osaka with gastro, which I suspect is norovirus. It came on within hours of eating sushi (the raw squid is the culprit). Within four hours I had vomiting, followed by diarrhea (which I still have) and 24 hours of muscle aches, joint aches, fever, chills and headache…much like having the flu. Not pleasant, spent all of today disinfecting my hotel room wih bleach in the hope that my husband and daughter don’t catch it. Oh, disposable undies are a great Japanese invention!

  98. Again, another victim has taken to the internet to research what has been experienced for six days. I have had several students come back after three days and turn around after two hours and go home. I almost made the same mistake, but wisely stayed home one more day. Then, that night the insidious “IT” hit again and Friday was spent @ home again with the nausea and recleaning. I think the dairy on my “good” day may have been the culprit, so head the advice about dairy. If you teach or work with little ones, you pick up everything after they have nurtured it to full strength. (3 decades of personal research and observation support the hypothesis.)

    BTW – Perhaps the grammar police are just cranky from being sick with the disease of “mind your own p’s and q’s.” It’s not a research paper, but informational text in a BLOG for people who want to find out information after suffering this dreadful virus. Go volunteer to help some over-worked English teacher correct papers. They would appreciate your help! Your talents are wasted here.

  99. Oh, I gave the grammar police another target. It is heed, not head. It is very difficult to proof-read in a two line box, but when shown after posting in the approval box makes those mistakes “pop” out.

  100. I am a nurse and have resistance to every bug out there (just an observation from years of not getting sick after dealing with people suffering from the flu, colds, and other inefections- and their bodily fluids!) but this noro got me! Three times in 5 months! I don’t know why but the silver lining is it is less severe each time. First time I had to get IV fluids, second time slept for two days, this time only for 6 hours. All three times I have nursed my baby and thankfully he has been safe!

  101. I have been following this with interest, particularly the vaccine development and am so disappointed that it seems to have been abandonned. I am Blood Group B and this confers some protection but not apparently against GII4 which is the predominant strain. ’23andMe’ genetic testing even offer an analysis of your norovirus susceptibility. I think that speaks volumes and that many people would be pleased to see this virus contained somehow….

  102. I had a bout of noro 3 weeks ago, was suddenly stricken at work. I was unable to walk and had to be helped to the car by coworkers when my husband was summoned to retrieve me. I spent 48 miserable hours with both ends going at the same. I have been living in fear of getting sick again. This morning at the exact same time I was stricken again at work. Luckily I took my phone to the restroom and was able to summon my husband more discreetly. I’m managing to drink chamomile tea, which I think helps to relax the stomach and bowel cramps. This is a great article and the responses have made me feel just a little tiny bit better. I’m too weak right now to bleach the house but hopefully hubby can help with that later. Good luck to all of us!

  103. At the risk of being facetious, I just HAD to share this story – again – on Virology News, under the heading “A story that just runs, and runs and runs…”. This article has elicited a PHENOMENAL response; just goes to show how much noro and other gastro agents there are out there.

    And how we need the vaccines.

  104. Great blog and a welcomed source of information. I live in the NYC metro area and have had recurring bouts with norovirus twice in the last five weeks. I have never experienced such prolonged sickness in all of my 59 years of life. Initially, I had an odd feeling that oil had settled in my stomach for a week or two. I had to fight of the urge to vomit until severe bouts of repeated EXPLOSIVE diarrhea began. This followed by chills and night sweats. The recovery has been slow.

  105. I live in South Africa and have had a bout of this norovirus. My husband started 24 hours later, and we both agree that this strain is something new. Usually one feels better after 24 hours, and better still after being able to eat again. This time we both simply cannot regain our strength, and we still cannot eat properly. I decided to google the bug, and landed on your site… Thanks for the insight!

  106. @Miki: yes, I can pretty much duplicate that: nasty bout of feeling ill, then – fatigue, lethargy…it gets better, though!

  107. OMG!!! I was unlucky enough to catch this!! It was horrible !! Couldn’t stop vomiting or pooping. It was so bad I had to go to the hospital. Was so dehydrated I needed 2 IV bags. I hope to God I NEVER get it again!! I wash my hands I don’t know how many times a day and NEVER touch any grocery cart or door knob or elevator button without using a Clorox wipe!! I never want to be that sick ever again!


  109. So here I lay in bed, with my cat and laptop for company, after numerous trips to my washroom. I have just read your article, live in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I know I have had this bug a few times in my life, however todays party in my washroom does have me wondering if this is not a parasite from the tap water, being spring run off and all. How does one really know if a horrible occurrence of purging out any end for that matter is not caused by something other then a norovirus? Great article, btw!! … and as for you critics out there with spelling and punctuation issues!!! Blow it out your asses…. LOL

  110. I’ve just recovered from my 3rd bout in 2 months of this thing! I would give anything to know how to rid myself of the virus and avoid a recurrence. I can’t afford to miss any more work or lose any more weight.

  111. It’s interesting to me that symptoms can differ between people infected with the virus, I presume due to the hosts’ blood type. Perhaps someone can comment on this.

    Case in point: my girlfriend caught what she thought was “gastric flu”, which doesn’t actually exist – no flu viruses infect the stomach or intestines I am reliably informed. Anyway, her symptoms were mild: some diarrhea, feeling weak and generally flu-like symptoms. Three days later she was fine (wasn’t with her during this time). Met with her at her apartment on the fifth day and within 48 hours I had the worst (what I believe to be) norovirus infection I think can be possible. Dreadful projectile vomiting, forceful diarrhea, excruciating all over body muscle pain, weakness, unsteadiness, headache, cold feet, fever, chills, etc. You name it, I had it. Never in my life have I had such horrendous symptoms through an illness. I am writing this four days after being symptomatic and suffered collapse yesterday due to low blood pressure (doc said possible dehydration at time of collapse but could find nothing to support that at the hospital???)

    Assuming we both had the same virus, I don’t fully understand how someone can be infected but be less symptomatic than someone else. Anyone?

  112. I asked my doctor, can one get the norovirus 3 times in 3 months? He said, yes. I am pretty sure I have had it 3 times now. I feel pretty certain as my wife had the same symptoms. I never threw up, only had diarrhea maybe once? Did go #2 a LOT though. Loads of cramping, bloating, nausea, burping, headache, fatigue, and so on. nausea was 2-3 days but the cramping was 7-10. I lost nearly 10 pounds from eating far less. In my area it was spreading very rapidly. I take probiotic pills so maybe that made my symptoms a bit easier, but I still suffered from dehydration. I even had lower sodium levels. Regardless, I still do not feel 100%. I feel like my intestines are still in recovery mode. I amped my probiotics up to 50 billion per capsule, once a day. What a nasty nasty virus…. Praying it FINALLY goes away.

  113. My daughter and I both contracted it and its the most violent and painful illness I’ve experienced. I nearly aspirated while sitting upright on the toilet simulatneously vomiting and diarrhea. I honestly thought I might die.

  114. I contracted this within 24 hours of being exposed to a child with the virus. My older daughter, 31, got it at the same time. Now my younger daughter, 14, has it and my husband. I have never puked like that in my entire life. Seven hours, every fifteen minutes. Started feeling better 48 hours later, but now, 3 days later, I am nauseous again, bloated, lower parts are grinding away, still have diarrhea. I thought it was supposed to ‘let up’ after 48 hours. The funny thing is: the child I contracted it from was sick for about 8 hours and then recovered nicely. Why is this lasting longer with me? The first night, all of my joints were on fire and I felt like I had red ants crawling up and down my legs. I am currently at work, but am contemplating going home for the rest of the day…

  115. Can’t believe I read the whole blog from top to bottom(!). Excellent article with excellent additional contributions. Really useful to understand more clearly some of the science – both on how the virus works and how some of the cleaning products we frantically use, do not! My family of
    Six are all recovering from experiencing the ‘joys’ of the norovirus bug. Speaking for
    myself, the 6 hours of ‘events’ experienced on Wednesday / Thursday were truly the worse I have ever experienced. My problem now is the careful balancing act of suitable food to get back to a normal diet. Have read many suggestions. BRAT being the easiest to remember (Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). Any further suggestions to aid a needy recovering stomach? Please forgive grammatical and spelling errors. Written this only able to see a few words at a time before it disappears out of sight.

  116. I’ve had this thing 3 times since mid-February. What is so weird is that the events are exactly 3 weeks apart and begin at the very same time of day. Has this happened to anyone else? One thing that I found helpful to stay hydrated with was chamomile tea – I think it must relax the abdominal muscles enough so that the vomit reflex doesn’t happen. I guess I’m living in fear of having another episode. Fortunately my husband hasn’t contracted it!

  117. ^^^^ I have now had this virus 4 times. Last 3 have been within 2-3 weeks as well. My son and I both got it together. He puked once, but I have yet to ever puke. I just get cramping and abdominal pains, headache, light nausea, even discomfort when I pee. After a few days that all goes away, this has been my lightest bout yet thankfully. Not that I am happy you had this 3 times, but that I am not the only one! I am currently taking 50 – 80 billion probiotics per day, high fiber, and just added spirulina pills to detox.

    1. I identify with the last comment. After I had it, I got acid reflux that would not go away. I changed my diet … 3/4 veggies and fruit, flax, etc. and it is now gone. It is the worst virus I have ever had. I felt weak and fatigued for a good two months after having this.

  118. Thanks Robbie!
    I’m taking probiotics as well but had not thought to take spirulina – good idea! It’s been 2 weeks since my last bout but I still have abdominal discomfort – sort of a grinding, growling, angry gut. I’ve never experienced IBS but I have a feeling now what it must be like to have it. UGH! I just want my happy little digestive system back!

    1. Carl: judging from the comments, it seems as though
      a) there is more than one norovirus type co-circulating (which is why people are getting infected more than once)
      b) they are / one is more virulent than normal (which is why people are getting so sick).
      Seriously: have you contacted the CDC to see whether or not there is more norovirus activity than normal, and if the strains are nastier? It would be interesting to see…maybe Google should have a “Norovirus Watch” page as well as its flu scan utility?

  119. I am from US. Spent a week in Norway, flew from there to Houston (via Amsterdam) on KLH on Sunday. Mid-morning on Monday it started with voting then diarrhea by afternoon. Four days of hell so far. Seeing doctor this morn. Is Norovirus something that can be diagnosed by lab tests or only by deduction?

    1. Yes, there are good lab tests for norovirus. You need to bring a stool sample, there are many labs that can test for presence of the virus. All state labs are set up for it, and many hospital labs. Virus is detectable up to a week after onset of illness, and longer in many people.

  120. I don`t understand why no-one thinks to use anti-emetics with this bug. There are plenty that dissolve in the mouth if they can`t keep anything down. Iv`e never had this bug, but I always keep some disolvable anti-emetics on hand just in case. I don`t intend to be used as a form of transport by this virus, & I won`t be responsible for infecting others.

  121. Did you know your blood type can also play a part in the severity of norovirus symptoms? People who say they’ve never gotten it may be an A blood type in which case they most likely HAVE had it but with very mild symptoms (to the point of the person just thinking that they feel a little “off”). People with O blood type feel the symptoms most acutely because they have a receptor in their saliva that virus quickly hooks onto.

  122. Very nice article. So a minor point of correction. Human noroviruses encode 8 proteins (NS12, NS3, NS4, NS5, NS6, NS7 and VP1 & VP2). They do this using a total of 3 “genes” not 9 as suggested. NS12-7 are encoded by a single gene. The 6 protein products of this gene are made by cleavage of the large protein encoded by this gene.

  123. Me and my brother just got norovirus.. i was hospitalised and more severe (possibly because of my type 1 diabetes and maybe because my blood type is B+) but it’s been a day and a half since I left and i’m feeling fine but my mother just started showing signs of the symptoms. Me and my brother want to know if we can get the virus again from her, right after we just got it? If anyone could answer that we be good 🙂

  124. I have had this virus on average every month since December July 2013 and in the last 3weeks alone I have had it twice.

    I’m at my wits end-it’s so debilitating,with a small child and full time high pressued job.I moved from Ireland to London and the virus followed me!i thought it may have been circumstantial,but obviously not.

    I do have tummy issues and am wondering is it die to that I’m so suseptibtable or is my immune system completely shot.either way it can’t be normal?!

    Should I see an immune specialist?been to a gastro specialist in Feburay but haven’t been back to explain how much worse its gotten.

  125. Rachel,

    what have your symptoms been? many of us have been battling a recurring bout of this virus that is more mild but never seems to go away. there is some other version out there plauging is.

  126. I doubt that it’s actually norovirus that is recurring that frequently. I would get checked out by another doctor that is willing to look at other causes.

  127. Iv`e read endless descriptions of norovirus on the internet, & while Iv`e not had a stomach bug of any description in 43 years, I`m terrified that it`s going to get me one day. I carry Dompiradone (Motillium), anti emetic wherever I go just in case. Why doesn`t it occur to other people to use drugs that stop vomiting?, it would certainly help to stop them from spreading the virus.

  128. I caught the norovirus in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons at the end of June and had to be hospitalized from severe dehydration and hypothermia (92.6 F). It’s been almost two months and I still do not have my energy back.
    Been seeing an immune specialist who gave me a shot of B12 – that gave me a boost, but I’m still too tired. After reading all the comments on this blog, I guess there are a few others who experienced fatigue for a couple months afterward. Are there any others who’ve experienced on-going fatigue and for how long?

  129. Well day 5, still can’t eat and dissolve food, sits there all day till bed then a hour of slowly bring it all up over an hour, then the other end of liquid for an hour then sleep, even water just comes back up thick, I feel fine but my digestive system is to pot, bile production seems to have stopped looking at the toilet afterwards.

    Lost 10 pounds in the last 3 days alone…

  130. I think the people who mention the blood group connection may be onto something. I have always lived in fear of this virus and have come very close to people infected with it, even working on a visitors centre/farm where many of the visiting children and all our staff who were working with them got the virus and promptly infected other staff members but not me. I am blood group A+ and seem to suffer less than average with tummy bugs although i do remember having something resembling norovirus as a 5 year old and intially wondered if i had developed lifelong immunity although i now read that this is not the case so remain a little puzzled about an individuals susceptability as i know people who come down with stomach bugs at least a couple of times every year!

  131. I have had stomach flu before, but its been a long time. I wonder if its because of the current condition I face? I have an overactive immune system, I wonder if that helps me fend off pathogens better or less.

  132. After many bouts of norovirus, I have learnt to deal with it by recognising the early signs and fasting for between two and four days.

    What I noticed in a typical bout was first a really intense hunger, then bloating and then a sudden indigestion followed by stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.

    I remember the intense hunger pangs continuing even after the indigestion developed, and I even once thought the pangs were caused by gastric. These pangs were so strong, I really stuffed myself because I was ravenous.

    Now if I feel these horrible abnormal hunger pangs and sense indigestion coming on, I fast for about 48 hours with only sips of water. I don’t find I feel ill when I do this as I do not suffer the distended stomach and only have to resist the intense hunger pangs.

    Drinking a lot of water just makes things worse since nothing is moving and it’s all sitting in the stomach. I remember not peeing during the earlier bouts and having this really sloshy feeling in my very distended stomach.

    I have a little toast and tea once the indigestion began resolving itself. The first sign is gas and a properly gurgling stomach. The less I have stuffed myself (due to the hunger pangs) the less ill I feel.

    I think I caught the virus two or three times again in 2011 and early 2012, and the fasting helped me get over it in three or four days. Before I started fasting, I would be out of commission for at least eight days.

    Oddly I have not suffered it since early 2012, (and i travel a lot).

    I hope this helps.

  133. It’s baaaack. I had this virus 2x last year, once in September and once in December. UGH. My son brought it home from daycare the other day, so poor thing woke up at 4 am puking, and then every 15 minutes almost on the clock he puked for 3 hours. I knew we were in for it. A day passed, nothing, I thought maybe somehow we avoided it. WRONG, 2 days later at almost the exact same time, my husband and I started have symptoms, and the next 12 hours were disgusting hell. I actually vomited while driving, that’s how fast it came on.

  134. I was just at a conference where it was passed to at least 50 of the 500 participants (but we just left today, so who knows how many more will get it?).

    My question is, can I give this to my cat? And even if he doesn’t get it, if I pet him and he rubs furniture, will he spread it around my house? I’m quarantining myself in the guest room so my boyfriend doesn’t get it. I’m also wearing gloves. Should I wear a mask too?

  135. I was using my laptop both right before and during the illness. Is there any way to clean my laptop? Should I not bring it into the office for 10 days?

  136. Had norovirus from 13th to about 19th this month. Have an ileostomy for Crohn’s so by 16th thought I was dying and got the paramedics out. Fortunately I’d managed to keep down enough Dioralyte to stop dehydration. There should be a vaccination for this horrendous illness; for me it was worse than having flu. My cats spent a lot of time on the bed with me- it isn’t a cross-species illness, I think other animals have their own version.

  137. Hello, this article was great!-had me cracking up! I am in day one of recovery from both ends exploding. =(
    However there are a few comments with a similar message that need addressing. I believe the commenters are simply misinformed, not intentionally malicious. But, as an RN I feel it is my civic duty to point out the misleading info that could be deadly. A few people have mentioned that they would simply take an enti-emetic or anti-diarrhea medication to lessen symptoms and prevent the spread. Doing so will lead to SEPTIC SHOCK and possible death. The body must be allowed to dispose of the virus, or it will continue to multiply in the body until the body shuts down and goes into shock from trying to fight it (simplified explanation). Persons with diarrhea or nausea from perhaps IBS or Crohns or chemo therapy can take anti-emetics and anti-diarrheals to prevent dehydration, but NEVER a person with an acute viral or bacterial infection. I have taken care of many people who have nearly died and a few who have actually sadly died from misuse of these very of OTC medications. This probably explains what happened to the commenter *Notanignoramus, the girl who took phenergan and was soon hallucinating and took a month to recover. However tempting it may be to get relief from your symptoms, you will end up prolonging norovirus and possibly killing yourself.

    1. Reg. what Crystal said (see above):
      On the other hand, if a doctor prescribes meds to prevent or slow down the expulsions, that is because it is needed. I was so dehydrated and hypothermic (92.6 F) from throwing up etc. that I could have died. The first thing the doctor did was give me a shot to stop the vomiting, followed by warm blankets, O2, and warm IV.
      The doctor also gave our family pills (forgot what kind) to give the rest of the family IF they started throwing up as well. So he would probably disagree with your warning of septic shock.
      Bottom line – don’t self prescribe; see a doctor.

  138. Jan. 2014 Somewhere between Southern California and central New Mexico mr. Noro introduced himself to me. The most violent body wrecking experience I have ever had. Vomiting&diarrhea uncontrollably at the same time for two days accompanied by a 104.8 temp. Ended up in the hospital for two days. I NEVER wish to go thru that again. Lost 14lbs in seven days and had terrible muscle cramps. After getting out of the hospital had a big clean up job at home to do and in the bathroom found some vomit under the sink and it had some crazy mold growing on it. This Noro ..ain’t no joke. Thought I was dying. Sorry so glum, but that’s exactly how it went. ;/

  139. To Adde Larson: I’m glad you pointed this out. However, it’s not foolproof: I am homozygous for FUT2, and am a non-secretor. Six years ago an attack of norovirus half killed me. According to 23andMe (which I did before they were forced to stop interpreting health results) the FUT2 genes protect against the most common form of norovirus; they don’t define it, but the G114 New Orleans is likely the one considered most common. However, the G114 Sydney, a new strain, is the one sweeping the globe currently, and the data is equivocal as to whether FUT2 homozygous people are resistant to that as well. See

    To everyone else: Catching norovirus is a horrendous, traumatizing experience, as others have indicated. The word needs to be spread that extreme attention to hygiene and staying home when sick is essential. Society has gotten lazy; nobody remembers epidemics anymore, or life before antibiotics. Combine that with “it won’t happen to me” type of thinking, and we’ve got a true public health nightmare in the making. I, for one, can’t understand why there are no public service/announcement about this to educate people.

  140. I am certain I had noro back in 1997. Vomiting to the extreme for hours on end while having severe watery diarrhea, and the horrific joint pain. I literally thought I was going to die. I have had “stomach bugs” since, and have NEVER been that sick since that incident. I usually only get diarrhea while everyone around me is vomiting. Is it normal for noro to affect different people in different ways? For example, my son caught it from his grandparents, they were all puking and had diarrhea. 48 hours after my son puked all over me, I had horrendous diarrhea and cramping, and felt like puking, bit never did. More recently, I had diarrhea and a gurgly unhappy belly. Less than a week later, my son was puking, no diarrhea. Now, a week after he was sick, my daughter is puking and has diarrhea. Did we all have the same thing? I’m B+, have no idea what the kids are.

  141. Very interesting! I did not know that “flu” affects the airways only. In 1968 I was told I had the Hong Kong Flu. I was experiencing the exact symptoms as the Norovirus. Everytime I woke up, rolled over, sat up or ate anything, I would puke. Amazing headache! I was sick for 7 weeks. No one else in my family (5) got it. I guess my Dr. was a quack! I did lose 20 pounds.

  142. What I am getting over now has got to be norovirus . It started abruptly with bloated abdomen for several hours and then almost explosive diarrhea–could not control the expulsion at all for 2 days–had to wear Depends.The vomiting stopped after the first 3 hr. I went to the ER the 1st day as I could not drink anything & was very dehydrated. The IV drip helped but the anti nausea drugs in it did hardly any good. They gave me a scrip for a chemo drug, Zofran, which I took for a day& it helped. Diarrhea continued for a third day then tapered off to “normal” diarrhea& finally on day4-5 became more solid feces. It is now day 6 and still not much appetite. Tea and crackers, applesauce, chicken broth go down OK. I have lost 5 lb. This is a really debilitating virus;I have never had anything like it. I read up on it & the only thing that kills it on surfaces is hydrogen peroxide; chlorine bleach does not work well at all. The CDC website has very little info on 2014 spread in the US other than the cruise ship incidents.My next door neighbor had this infection too–the only place we went together was a memorial service where a catered lunch was served. A few days later we were both ill. So beware: no crowds, no malls, etc. Wash hands like a fanatic; wipe counters, door knobs, keyboard, mouse, light switches, and don’t eat food someone else has prepared. Use paper(not cloth) towels & pitch them. The 3% H2O2 from drugstore works just fine

  143. PS: I also had a fever of 102 . ME on 3-11-13 wrote that 23andMe tests for susceptibility to norovirus. I checked my results again and sure enough I am susceptible–no wonder I was sicker than my neighbor.

  144. Hi there, I’m at home in the UK on day 5 of Norovirus and whilst vomiting, cramping etc over, starting to feel worse again (fever,dizzy etc). Strangely I have had absolutely no sense of taste for two days – anyone else had this? Why would that happen?

  145. Are those with genetic immunity to most norovirus strains (like me), immune to the new strain GII.4 Sydney? I can’t find any information on what strains that I’m not immune to. 23andme says immune to”most” strains but can’t they give us more detail???

  146. Zimmer’s article is perfectly timed for us who are suffering now in February 2014. Glad he brought a humorous side to it. I’m on day 4 of norovirus, and although much better, feel very weak, and the thought of cooked food makes me ill. Tapioca pudding, plain pasta, potatoes, toast.
    Ride the wave, I guess. All I do is lay down. Thanks for the great article!

  147. CZ- thank you for taking the time to educate people like myself who have fallen victim to this horrendous virus and know nothing about it!! I was hospitalized yesterday for it and just want to get better. People will always criticize and it hi lites flaws in themselves. I learned a lot and wanted to thank you again!!!! I didnt know there was a such thing as grammar police! !!!!

  148. On a business trip this week. Day one, my co-worker advises she was violently ill all night. Day three, I show up for an 8 am meeting. By 8:30 I am back in my hotel room with the most violent both end purge in my 69 years. Almost impossible to make it 20 steps from the bed to the bathroom. This went on for almost 7 hours. I sipped ginger ale almost continuously attempting to stay hydrated (my Mom used to give this to me when I was a little kid and it has always worked for me). I kept it down (mostly). Couldn’t get warm, and miserable headache. Symptoms pretty much over at the 24 hour mark but still weak and lethargic. Weighed myself. This episode cost me around 6 pounds. Have had gastroenteritis before, but never anything that hit me this hard, this fast. Awful.

  149. I have just had this awful virus….I lost my son on the 3rd. We were altogether for his funeral. Out of 12 people, it hit 8 of us extremely hard. This is the FOURTH time I have had this.ONCE EVERY 4 years it has hit me. More aggressive each time and I have been hospitalised each time…..near the end of the oh so fierce vomiting and the other end. This time my husband was also hospitalised as had just been discharged after major surgery….we were so frightened what he would go through if got it…..he did, the last one. We called ambulance right away and he was admitted for couple of days. I was starting to think this virus is living in me…….my immune system not good…on medication …… It’s getting to be the case….do I continue with medication which is touching my immune system or do I carry on with the threat of this dam virus every year. Hmmm! Tricky one.

    1. I am so, so sorry you lost your son…
      As for the norovirus, I went to an immunologist after I got it because I get sick a lot. It turns out I do have something that weakens my immune system. I recommend you see a specialist when you can manage it.
      Good luck to you.

  150. Thanks for your article. It confirms what I have just experienced – initially I thought it was food poisoning. My symptoms: Projectile vomiting, headache, feeling really cold (in a warm house) and shivering, exhausted – slept for most of a day, then diarrhoea. Luckily the whole thing seemed over in about 36 hours. But then my wife and daughter-in-law went down with it. This is a helpful website too:

  151. My hypothesis about why stomach bugs tend to first hit in the night is that some kind of evolutionary mechanism in your body keeps you from completely falling apart until it’s relatively safe. If u r going to be incapacitated then it might as well be under the cover of night.

  152. The strain that my spouse and I survived ladt week has left us extremely weak, nauseated, lethargic, and with foul gas — 8 days later, so far. Were in our 40s, in good health, and not sure we could have survived it if we were much older.

  153. A very interesting article, and one I wholeheartedly agree with. Currently languishing in bed after contracting this hideous bug, hopefully on the mend now, but now worried about thoroughly disinfecting the house before any visitors pop by. [Have locked myself down for 48hrs to avoid passing infection on to others]..the thing I found most horribly fascinating was reading about how the cunning virus ‘may’ prime the stomach and intestine to ‘store’ food…..I ate a normal meal on Sunday night, and awoke at 5am monday and was hideously and violently sick…and so much of the friggin’ stuff! surely I hadn’t eaten that much! it was utterly revolting. The force of the eruption has left my stomach feeling so wrenched and sore.
    The headache and hot and cold sweats are not much fun either. I now feel like staying well away from anyone…I went into town the day before catching this, and some person with unwashed hands must have touched something I had touched…gross. But…we wash hands before eating at home, yet out and about, we eat crisps, drink coffee from used-before china cups… we really need a vaccine for this. And fast. But I do understand the difficulties around vaccines. Some clever scientist may stumble upon a vaccine and earn him/herself a Nobel Prize in the process!

  154. My family of 6 has been suffering this nasty bug stomach virus for over a month. One of my stepsons got it twice and I’m on my 3rd time in a month! The kids get over it quicker and have more vomiting. I have intense stomach pain that comes and goes and frequent diarrhea. 1st episode lasted 4 days. 2nd was mild and only a day. This time it’s severe again. I keep sipping water, tea and broth to stay hydrated. I’m generally a healthy person, but this thing doesn’t seem to want to get lost! I did my research this time and have told my family to stick to soap and water for hand washing and skip the sanitizer. I’m too sick to clean anything, but when I recover, I’ll try the bleach to clean rather than Lysol wipes.

  155. Great blog; like others, I just came online to find out the details of Noro, which I had already figured out for what it was. Horrible! Hit me at 4AM Saturday morning, out of the blue; lasted until Saturday night. By that time things had calmed down, but I had no interest in anything resembling food until Sunday afternoon. I live in a retirement residence and it has hit the whole place. Luckily my immune system is pretty good, but there are others here, in their 90s and even one 105, that this bug could devastate. Am not going to mix with anyone for another few days, but am going to sneak out to buy some bleach, once I’m free of my enforced quarantine!

  156. There must be something about going through this that makes people want to share their horrific, disgusting stories. Like surviving a blizzard together or something. I found myself searching online today after going a round myself over the last 48 hours. I think my curiosity lies in disbelief that your body can react so violently to something and that it comes on so quickly. I just needed to understand what the heck just happened a bit better. It’s like being taken over by alien forces and you just have to go with it. I laughed out loud reading one of your answers to the comments, where you state “Some people just get the diarrhea, …” It’s a running inside joke in our family, cuz we think it’s funny that my mother in-law says, “Y’ know he’s got THE diarrhea, like you need THE in front of it. I guess my families just a bunch of nitpickers too. ha ha ha Great Article by the way, just what I was looking for.

  157. Someone asked whether cats could have or carry Norovirus, the evidence suggests that they can’t as they have different viruses that cause sickness. However this year I have had an episode of proven Norovirus and just recovering from a second episode with exactly the same presentation. On both occasions my cats vomited a couple days before I developed diarrhoea. As a nurse my hand hygiene is good (have checked with a glow box) I’ve not been in contact with anyone with symptoms and to my knowledge there are no outbreaks in my area. So my question is – Could cats carry Norovirus or can the virus they carry somehow mutate to cause Norovirus in humans? Logically the answer is no, but how can I account for these two episodes that have closely followed my cats symptoms?

  158. While on a cruise ship a few years back when Norovirus seemed to be a Cruise Disease, they (Holland America) took away salt & pepper shakers and had attendants at the coffee spout and any place there were communal utensils (like a salad bar) to handle it for you. They also had staff spraying down tables, backs of chairs, armrests, bannisters, and elevator buttons with some kind of vinegar solution. Half way through the trip, when no one seemed ill, they lifted most of the restrictions. You should call cruise lines and ask what they do to prevent it.

  159. I have to agree with the person who compared it to surviving a blizzard! im at the end of my first day and i have to say i have never posted on a blog let alone read every comment in 30 yrs but until this morning i thought pneumonia for 4 weeks was bad, but that was nothing right now my throat has been damage by upchucking and mostly closed so it is making my already hard to hydrate problem even worse. I am also at around a pack a day of smoking and i have been able to have one all day, noro is that awful that it basically drowns it out, i also have type B+ so im hoping it doesnt take to long to recoup. and to the grammar bashers you have apparently never had this terrible virus let alone writing in the middle of it, lucky to remember the words and get them in the right order. ( had to put my 2 cents in as its my first post 🙂 there wouldnt be so much arrogance on ur part if ya had.

  160. P.S. forgot this part, but if this virus wasnt as horrible as it is, it would almost be freaking amazing the amount of force the human body can generate in opposite directions at the same time.

  161. Hi. I have had some personal time with this “Norovirus” and something just doesn’t add up.

    It is my belief the “Norovirus” is just natures way of getting rid of dead and decayed flesh.Once It finds a food source, it goes hell for leather to multiply as fast as possible. The effects are horrible on the human condition yet I must stress this is a SECONDARY infection due to the body becoming damaged in another capacity like radiation poisoning.

    What is radiation poisoning? I would say it was an adverse reaction to energy from outside the system bleeding in. This causes cellular damage by corrupting the DNA.

    That’s my 2 pence worth! I am no Health Doctor, but, I am an Electrical Engineer Maybe we just need to look at this from a different perspective.

    1. @Peter: sorry, man; all wrong! Noroviruses replicate in HEALTHY gut epithelial cells – like all viruses, they need living cells to reproduce. Dead and decaying just doesn’t do it, and radiation has NOTHING to do with it. Other than the fact it also causes your gut epithelium to be shed.

  162. @Ed Rybicki

    Thank you for responding but I think you may have jumped in a little quick reading between the lines.
    I doubt I have it all wrong. I am just not looking at this from your standard medical professional eyes.
    When cells are radiated at frequencies other than the norm, i.e.close to tetra band, they will start to emit a form of “sickness vibe” Because Norovirus is so resilient to radiation it is no coincidence and it is the last man (or virus) standing. Big outbreak of Norovirus says to me radiation problems not sanitary ones.

  163. @Ed Rybicki

    If you are adamant the Norovirus only needs healthy cells to replicate, then would this indicate it feeds on a higher frequency of energy due to its ability to survive in those high frequency conditions.
    Is the Norovirus becoming “supercharged” by the energies IN the radiation granting it temporary abilities to effect the most healthy of us all.
    Please note the wording radiation. These emissions could be from ground based equipment used in telecommunications to regular bursts of energised plasma gas being dumped into our Polar regions.via The Sun.
    The Norovirus feeds on a higher frequency of energy.
    Surely wiping out this virus couldn’t be as easy as ensuing all hospitals and doctors / clinics be covered with a negative charge material to automatically neutralise the currents ( +Volts) it which it needs in order to breed or survive in its natural habitat.

    If so I defer to you Sir.

  164. I’m sorry John, I have no expertise in medical science but I am really irked by your comments, is it just a random spike of “radiation” that caused 700 members of a cruise ship to all have the same symptoms and reactions within a short amount of time? That is very highly unlikely at the best, not to mention all the other cruises that had similar signs, just not as wide spread. In the future it would be wiser on your part to just keep quit, instead of trying to sound like you know what your talking about, I’m sorry but you sound like a quack talking about it in terms of feeding on frequencies. It is the single most horrible thing I have ever experienced and it bugs me when people try down play it like its just a common flu or they just need to buck up. If you have truly had it, you would understand.

    1. The last time I had a stomach virus was when I was 17, over 4 years ago, & the experience sticks in my mind still. I ended up wishing that someone would get a gun & shoot me! I hate people who don`t wash their hands after using the bathroom, & come to work with active symptoms, because if it wasn`t for their stupidity, these bugs would`nt spread like wildfire. I`m paranoid about catching stomach bugs.

      1. I hear ya Catherine. I’ve had it twice in just over two years (Christmas Day 2011 and February 2013). I was worried this last flu season as my baby was too young for the flu shot but hearing of an outbreak of Norovirus, even across the country, makes me anxious.

  165. I don’t remember what the medicine was called, but I was giving a shot of something to stop me from throwing up when I was in the emergency room. The Doctor also gave us some pills to give the rest of the family IF they caught the virus and also threw up.

  166. This bug is terrible I have had it for 11 days , been in hospital twice and doctors twice this is a super human bug , never heard of a stomach bug ever last this long ! It’s super human , me and my friend got it after eating at a restaurant , dirty people pry not washing there hands !!

  167. Just got this while serving jury duty – how to make a bad experience worse! At least it got me out of the final few days. The jury manager hesitated for a moment on the phone when I phoned in sick and I thought she was going to drag me in anyway. Fortunately she saw sense and relented. I’d have taken the £1000 fine for avoiding jury duty than take the 100 minute bus trip with rampant norovirus.

  168. And on it goes… Thanksgiving Day my 11 month old niece starting spewing from both ends, poor thing. Have to say though, she was quite the trooper through it all, intermittently cheerful and cooing until the next attack. Over the next two days the rest of us got it, including my 94 year old grandmother. Thank God she’s over it.

    I strongly agree with several of the comments recommending that more information be provided to the public on an annual basis just prior to peak periods of infection. Even though few of us interacted with the baby, her mother and grandmother were active in doing so as well as being busy in the kitchen. No surprise then that all of us eventually ended up infected.

    I’m wondering if it was possible that the virus could have been spread by her baby bottles being washed with a typical dish washing detergent in the sink and then other dishes being washed in the same sink, although in a fresh batch of water/detergent?

  169. Exactly one week ago I woke up with the worst stomach pains of my life. The first three days were brutal due to stomach cramping addition to other stomach flu symptoms. I am surprised that 7 days after contracting this evil bug, the norovirus, my stomach is still experiencing some cramping and my appetite is poor. My energy is also pretty low from a lack of protein in my diet. I am still shocked that an illness can cause this much pain and take so long to recover from!

  170. I got this last winter.actually,I come down with stomach virus 1-2 times a year,but never as bad as last Feb.I never get diarrhea,but I never threw up so copiously or so often in my hit at about 3 am.I woke with chills,nausea,and saliva.i leaned over and everything I ate that day poured out,then tan liquid which after an hour ran clear,then turned to ribs were sore,my whole body ached,and I broke a capillary in my left eye.for four days I couldn’t stop vomiting,ginger,the brat diet,crackers,everything that I put in my I threw right back up.if there is something about blood type,I have an identical twin sister,who also got sick but only threw up the first couple hours where. I couldn’t keep even water down for 4 days,the fifth day,I dry-heaved a few times,then finally drank a cup of coffee I was weak for several days after but no more vomiting,thank God.I usually only throw up for about 24 he’s.a couple times a year,but I have never had diarrhea before.hope I never get this again.

  171. Seems like some unscrupulous people could purposefully spread it at work….especially if they did not like the people there.

  172. After doing some research I now know what struck us! Visiting family for New Years with company and 10 people staying in one house… Everyone that was present on New Years day got sick “at the same time 1-2 AM Friday night” CRAZY! All GI symptoms – some worse than others… some vomited at least 20 times! 3 people got away without anything at the 3 day mark… fingers crossed – hoping they are type A!
    Taking every single precaution to never go through this again – from Clorox, hand washing, Alkaline Diet, Chamomile, Tea, Probiotics, etc….keeping kids home from school an extra day or 2 – not sure where it came from…

  173. Fantastic article, and an important one both for those who are affected and those trying to stop the virus in its tracks – and those of us who have had it and feel emtophobiac tendencies. The comments are also of great value. I have used formaldehyde against the virus – I work in a lab. At home I use bleach in high concentration. Anyone with experience from different anti-emetics? From a face-mask tending to someone ill
    (can it prevent inhalation?) or getting the virus from flaming hot food, like a wok? Stay healthy & be well!

  174. My girlfriend and I have been at a luxury resort in the British Virgin Islands. The day we arrived, the front desk lady pulled us to one side and whispered that some sort of virus had been going through the resort and that we should take care to wash our hands.
    Boy if I only knew what we were up against!
    I lasted 1 day before it hit me hard. I have never been so ill before. My girlfriend was hit next and it actually caused her to pass out.
    Every guest we spoke to said they had caught it too.
    Had the resort provided us with the curtesy of informing us of their epidemic before we arrived, we could have made other plans and avoided such a horrible experience.
    Unfortunately the resort made the conscious choice to infect us.

  175. where do I begin?? Went on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii and took 5 days on open seas just to get there. On the 5th day I was so sick with vomiting and could not keep even a swallow of water down. My husband checked at the doctors quarters and there was a long line of people and they said I would just have to get in line which I couldn’t because way to weak. Found out all he was doing was quarenteening everyone to their room anyway. Laid in bed for 3 days so without being able to keep water down I dehydrated. My liver must have been affected because stool turned a cream color. I have read that some people develope Acute liver dis function. Has anyone else had this? After that when I started to revive I caught the influenza that caused the coughing croup. People all over the ship were coughing their heads off but no one talked about how sick so many people were! Needless to say I had to go back to bed again with the flu so missed 3 Islands and dragged out to the 4 th Island but really couldn’t enjoy myself. Was sick on the 6 days return plus 5 others with our group are extremely sick now. Got back to land and 4 ambulances were waiting to take some people off on stretchers. Really scary and that will be my last cruise with so far from land you really feel helpless and I must say the doctor and nurses just acted disinterested because they were overwhelmed, too. Still recuperating after 18 days of being sick. Yuck!

  176. 2 months ago my son stated vomiting one night and had diahoria for the next 2 day.On the third after he ate something he fell sick and pain in the stomach this went on for 3 days but no vomiting or diahoria I took him to the hospital they said its appendix after endless tests they send us home but my son was loosing lots of weight 10 kilos he is 17 y old and could not eat because he had lots of pain and norsea we went to a specialist and he said its appendix so back in hospital took appendix out 6 days later at home at night he woke up with shaking so we called ambulance and back in hospital they thought its infection after the operation but test show it wasn’t after we were told there was nothing wrong wrong with his appendix and also nothing wrong with any bacteria but every night he would wake with the shaking he has been in hospital for on other week yesterday afternoon they said they found what was wrong with him its a gastro bug All I know my son has lost 12 kilos now is still in hospital and from a very healthy boy now is dedearating and the shaking again last night in hospital and hasn’t been to work for 2 month now can this virus stay in your system for that long ?

  177. 2 months ago my son stated vomiting one night and had diahoria for the next 2 day.On the third after he ate something he fell sick and pain in the stomach this went on for 3 days but no vomiting or diahoria I took him to the hospital they said its appendix after endless tests they send us home but my son was loosing lots of weight 10 kilos he is 17 y old and could not eat because he had lots of pain and norsea we went to a specialist and he said its appendix so back in hospital took appendix out 6 days later at home at night he woke up with shaking so we called ambulance and back in hospital they thought its infection after the operation but test show it wasn’t after we were told there was nothing wrong with his appendix and also nothing wrong with any bacteria but every night he would wake with the shaking he has been in hospital for on other week yesterday afternoon they said they found what was wrong with him its a gastro bug All I know my son has lost 12 kilos now is still in hospital and from a very healthy boy now is dedearating and the shaking again last night in hospital can this virus stay in your system for that long ?

  178. Great article, great comments! Recovering from what appears to be noro. Type O friend hospitalized for 2 days; I (non-O) got off much more easily. So impressed that in all the comments, no trolls connected the virus to politics! Bravo!

  179. Went to the theatre and Chinese restaurant on Saturday evening. Early hours of Monday morning I had terrible stomach cramps which resulted in explosive diarrhoea and then forceful vomitting. This went on for hours. When I finally got into bed I had the most excruciating leg and back cramps which I know understand is due to losing so much fluid, you get an electrolyte imbalance. I was crying with pain and thought I would end up in hospital.

    This second day, I drank a cup of tea which resulted in more diahorrea so I’ve only been drinking water and Dioralyte. On top I’ve had shivers which make my teeth chatter and bouts of sweating.

    My husband has just started having symptoms so we are both laid up in bed. There is no one to bleach and disinfect things. We are feeling too weak.

    My daughter is now running scared so she came baring gifts of toilet wipes and Domestos and is leaving the house until we are well. I’ve asked her to paint a red cross on the door with a sign saying “unclean”!

  180. I work in an assisted living community in Metro Detroit, started feeling nauseous at around noon yesterday. By 12:45 started vomiting, at 1:35 liquid diarrhea that was sudden (almost didn’t make it the 30 feet from my office to the bathroom) was sent home at 2:30 pm. Upon arriving home, went to lay down in bed, vomiting and diarrhea persisted (often occurring simultaneously) then, around 6pm started to experience throbbing headache and a fever (which prompted both hot and Cold sweats) haven’t been able to eat any foods, despite feeling hunger. Have been drinking water and pedialyte but it usually triggers a vomiting and diarrhea episode within 10 minutes. My entire body is sore, especially neck. We usually get an outbreak of noro annually around easter time in our community, but this is the worst I’ve had.

  181. I have had this virus three times, twice i have collapsed first time 7 years ago went unconscious hitting toilet seat on way down smashing it and breaking my ribs and this week collapsing and breaking ankle in the fall, resulting in losing my employment as in plaster for weeks and also a holiday due to being unable to travel, it really needs researching and eradicating!

  182. Norovirus!
    I am a 64-year-old, healthy female. I watch my 14-month-old grandson on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The other three days he’s in daycare. Last Saturday at 4:30 AM, I was awakened with severe stomach pain and nausea. When cold sweats started, I realized that I was going to vomit. It was violent, but only happened 3 or 4 times. The nausea was so bad, I almost wished I would throw up. Then I had intestinal cramps, but no diarrhea. The vomiting burned my esophagus. I couldn’t lie down because it made the stomach pain worse.

    After 9:00 AM, I texted my daughter that I was ill. She replied that she had similar symptoms, but no vomiting, and severe diarrhea, starting at 7:30. She told me that norovirus had gone through her son’s daycare room, but none of the babies got it, only the adults. Even the janitor who disinfected the room came down with it.

    By that afternoon, I ached all over, especially my back and head. My feet were like ice. I had a leg cramp. I was so weak, I could barely walk. It felt more like the flu than norovirus, except for the nausea and cramps. My daughter fared better. She was able to drink two glasses of water. Even sips of water made my stomach hurt. At our pharmacist’s suggestion, my husband bought me Pedialyte, but it tasted so bad, it made me feel sicker.

    My daughter and I both had the same stomach issues and aches on Sunday. I felt stronger, and figured I’d be better by Monday. But on Monday I felt worse than on Sunday. I was bloated with gas. Anything I ate or drank created more gas! It’s now Tuesday evening, and it’s not better. I had my grandson here today, and it was hard, but I managed until my husband came home at 3:30. My daughter went to work on Monday, but felt worse after she got there, and went back home at noon. She is doing better today. Her husband hasn’t come down with it.

    I have cancelled my plans for tomorrow. I’m hoping that I feel better before Friday, which is my birthday. I’m getting tired of canceling plans, especially with people I seldom see. I haven’t had a gastroenteritis type illness in a long time. I was expecting a one to two day illness and a brief recovery period of just feeling tired, not this lingering gastrointestinal distress, and worry about spreading the virus.

  183. Great article, thank you. Very informative and well written; also made me laugh after 5 days of ‘noro-hell’! I thought I was over it yesterday, but the nausea is back today and also that totally washed-out feeling. Better than the bathroom floor experience, though! PS Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories, they really help.

  184. Very interesting blog. I have coeliac disease and am very slowly recovering from my first time of getting this incredibly nasty virus. My partner who has also had it has recovered much more quickly than me and I was just wondering if being coeliac might be making the passage of the illness somewhat slower…and if anyone out there has any specific advice or insights into norovirus in those who are coeliac. I did ring the Coeliac UK support line but they were not able to advise me of any relevant research on this…

  185. I have three kids under 7 and in 3 different schools. My kids have each had this virus 2 times this winter and me? I’m recovering from my 8th! I’m assuming my immune system isn’t up to par. We are all obsessive hand washers, disinfect with bleach and Lysol, take multivitamins and yet 8 times in one winter. How can this be? What can I do to better protect myself?

  186. I have had Norovirus for over 4 weeks now. It was diagnosed from stool sample after 3 weeks. After 4th week a GP told me “it can’t be Noro it doesn’t last this long” How long can it last. It is still ongoing and I have had enough!

  187. I had this two days ago after catching it from my baby daughter. It was very shortlived with only one night of both ends erupting. I thought I was getting off easy but no just tonight it started all over again! I am seriously considering a bleach enema.

  188. I’m just recovering from this horrible malady and this article is by far the best, most informative one I’ve come across, even out of all the medical websites out there. Anyway – THANKS!

  189. Carl: kudos! This HAS to be one the all-time great posts on viruses, given its continuing popularity over 2 years now. I think I may said when you posted it, this’ll just run, and run, and run…B-) Rereposted on Virology News because – norovirus!

  190. Question: If you have been diagnosed with Norovirus a year ago and it cleared up can one get a flair up which can bring on the symptoms again but they are just not as bad?

  191. Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “2013 MI DHS-1514” to fill out?

  192. If you contract norovirus can the nausea and vomiting last for months afterward? I went to the ER in March and was diagnosed with type B influenza. Since then I have had repeated bouts of nausea and vomiting. I have vomited more in the last 5 months than I have in my entire life. Maybe I picked up the norovirus in the ER?

  193. This info hasn’t really be seen on the net but even if you are fighting the infection I realized I can stop the violent vomiting by taking prescribed zophran. This stuff is given to women who have difficulties keeping down food while going thru a pregnancy. Ask your doctor for some. It’s a wonder drug. Whatever you do, don’t get confident that you are cured, your still sick but atleast you won’t be spreading the virus much. Don’t kiss or share foods for a few weeks.

  194. I’m 74, generally healthy with no major issues (heart, bp, arthritis, etc.), was struck 9 days ago with it. Sleep had been restless, at 5AM woke up with diarrhea, not long after, vomited violently. The upchucking was more violent, yet somehow ‘easier’ than any I can ever recall – as if a hand were firmly grasped around stomach, and squeezing, hard.

    The familiar one-two expulsions went on until about noon, after which mild stomach pain, low grade fever, nausea persisted. Managed sips of gatorade and water, but couldn’t sleep due to nausea – finally fell into deep slumber at 2 AM, woke up feeling like hit by a truck, but nausea, praise the lord was gone. Recovery swift after that. Drank lots and lots of fortified water,kept diet to applesauce, mashed potatoes but appetite now fully returned.

    I’ve been fortunate not to have had much illness or severe pain in my now more than three score and ten. Childbirth (2) and nasty gallbladder attack are about it – but I would rather have ANY pain than roiling nausea which is a torture. Thankful the bout was fairly brief, filled with respect for the corporeal ‘me’ that’s faithfully sustained life for decades.

    What’s remarkable, and why I’m reporting what was after all a rather ordinary episode is aftermath. Not only have I recovered, I feel fantastic – much, much better than prior to onset. I’d been feeling low level malaise and depressed mood for weeks (holiday? overeating, overdrinking?), but swear it seems as though something got purged in the process. Filled with energy and optimism, don’t know if organic or psychological (elation at having survived the onslaught) or what. Wondering if anyone has had similar salutary post-gastroenteritis experience.

  195. I have OCD, my Mum got sick early Wednesday morning, I spent 2 days freaking out, barely talking to her, alone in my room, only to catch it myself, I started feeling unwell in the early hours of Friday. It’s now Saturday and my brother has also come down with the bug.
    Hence how I’m here arming myself with all the information I can. We’re waiting it out for symptoms to stop to do a deep clean.
    To everyone panicking that the virus cannot be killed, you need to remember that when you clean your surfaces with bleach you should be washing away the virus, you don’t just spray the surface and leave it now do you?
    While it would be nice to know it died on contact, it won’t. But a good thorough scrub and rinse off will do you just fine. This information is the only way I can get through when something breaks out to stop me going insane.

Leave a Reply to Celtacia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *