Norovirus Infection – short but fierce

21 October 2017

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Behind sudden diarrhea often infected as a cause norovirus. Especially young children and the elderly often suffer by noroviruses.

In a norovirus infection, the symptoms typically begin suddenly: The first signs are severe diarrhea and gush like vomiting. The symptoms usually of total well-being on out. Norovirus can be as significant within hours dehydration cause. Occasionally it may even cause diarrhea or vomiting only (instead of vomiting and diarrhea).

Besides, a norovirus infection other symptoms trigger, such as:

In addition, the slightly elevated body temperature be. However, true fever rarely causes norovirus. In general, the symptoms disappear after 12 to 48 hours again. In some affected a norovirus infection leads to even weak complaints or causes no symptoms.

Norovirus infection: Electron micrograph of Norovirus © RKI

Electron micrograph of Norovirus

How long does it take to an infected with the norovirus person develops symptoms, is different: On average, the incubation 6 to 50 hours.

Basically, the norovirus can lead to the disease at any age. However, it is especially common in Children under 5 years and elderly people over 70 years responsible for acute diarrhea and vomiting. have for this reason accumulate particularly in community facilities such as kindergartens and schools, but also in hospitals or nursing homes repeatedly norovirus cases: So it was, for example, in the fall of 2012 in Germany to a large food-borne outbreak, the number of child care facilities and schools concerned and behind the contaminated with norovirus frozen strawberries (or products made therefrom) inserted.

Diarrhea caused by norovirus can occur throughout the year. The norovirus infection not occur with seasonal accumulation in the months November to April on; So they reached in the winter their peak incidence. So far, a steady increase in infections caused by noroviruses became apparent in Germany; only in recent years the numbers have dropped slightly.

According to the Infection Protection Act is for direct Detection of norovirus in stool a compulsory registration. Of the suspicion to a norovirus infection and the disease of acute diarrheal disease, however, are only reported if the person concerned an action pursuant to § 42 (ie, in the food industry, such as kitchens, food, restaurants or food production) exercises or if at least two or more similar diseases arise where an epidemiological link is probable or suspect.

The only way one at a norovirus infection reliable diagnosis to ask, is to detect the causative viruses. This is only possible in special laboratories. There are three methods available with which Norovirus in stool can be detected:

The cultivation of norovirus in cell cultures is not possible.

However, this elaborate detection methods usually only come into use,

So far, there is no drug that acts specifically against a norovirus infection. Antibiotics are not suitable for the treatment, since these drugs are effective only against bacteria. Therefore, one tries at a norovirus infection especially the alleviate symptoms.

At a light Norovirus infection are recommended for the treatment of the following measures:

Go with the norovirus infection severe vomiting (Antiemetics called.) Remedy for nausea and vomiting are used to relieve symptoms - accompanied, can the treatment - after medical consultation.

For Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened can bring as the norovirus infection risks a diarrheal disease. With them should therefore one Doctor consulted be when the Diarrhea for longer than two to three days stops - especially if in addition other symptoms such as fever and / or vomiting.

Children are more sensitive than adults to the accompanying diarrhea and vomiting dehydration - and the stronger, the younger they are. For very young, but also for the elderly, the water loss is sometimes even life-threatening. You need as a treatment therefore may not only sufficient water, but a special electrolyte solution to compensate for the losses.

In general, children should during a norovirus infection drink more than usual. Depending on the age and previous food suitable, for example unsweetened herbal tea or water. are a special other protected or build-up diet food or longer breaks during treatment - if possible, breastfeeding or feeding the child also normal Not necessary.

In otherwise healthy adults, the symptoms of norovirus infection usually also better without special therapy; Drugs are often not necessary. Nevertheless, it is important for adults to drink enough. With a heavier norovirus infection electrolyte preparations from the pharmacy can be useful even for adults.

At a heavy norovirus infection can possibly treatment in hospital to be required. There, the parties will receive the needed fluid and electrolytes and nutrients through a vein as an infusion or through a nasogastric tube directly into the stomach.

A norovirus infection usually starts suddenly and for total well-being out with severe diarrhea and vomiting. Within a few hours it can so be substantial fluid loss. Most norovirus infection takes a mild to moderate course and will increase after about 12 to 24 hours by itself. In severe cases as well as hospital treatment may be necessary.

In severe cases it can through the partly strong Fluid and electrolyte loss cause potentially life-threatening complications, such as:

A norovirus infection, you can not prevent directly though - but you can take steps to reduce the risk of infection. This can be already with the observance of simple rules of hygiene - such as regular Wash your hands - effectively reach: Who 30 seconds lathered up with hand-washing hands, the number of bacteria on the hands reduces by 90 to 99 percent. 

Wash your hands always best

A vaccination against noroviruses there is not yet.


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