What is Food-borne Norovirus?

Food-borne Norovirus is the most common source of food borne illness, or gastroenteritis, in the U.S. Its scientific origin is the Calicivirus family, single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus. Norovirus is often called the stomach flu because it quickly invades the stomach and intestinal tract and causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and body aches. Outbreaks of nororirus are often called Winter Stomach Flu Outbreaks.  While we often refer to it as stomach flu, it is not related to influenza.  Influenza is also viral, but is primarily a respiratory illness.

Common Sources of Norovirus

Norovirus gets into a human body usually through eating foods that have been handled or touched by someone with norovirus – especially during norovirus season (Autumn through early Spring).  It is most commonly spread by uncooked fruits, vegetables or raw foods like oysters, but can also be transmitted person to person like other illnesses.  In restaurants, such as cafeteria style food or a buffet, it can spread rapidly. Outbreaks often occur in schools, hospitals, daycare facilities, nursing homes, college dormitories, and cruise ships.  Norovirus spread easily because it can get on a door handle or a counter and survive for sufficient time for it to pass to the next person or people.

Like a Salmonella outbreak or an E. coli outbreak, noroviruses are passed from the stool or vomit of infected people.

The infamous Norwalk Virus

Norwalk virus, the most famous type of norovirus, getting its name following a 1968 outbreak at a school in Norwalk, Ohio.  It was identified before any other strain, and is a common culprit in CRUISE SHIP outbreaks.

Norovirus outbreaks are very common, but according to Food Poisoning Lawyers at Ron Simon & Associates, the source of most outbreaks are not found unless the outbreak is linked to a central institution.  When it is, identification is facilitated by the rapid onset.  There have been a number of norovirus wedding reception outbreaks that have led to 20 to a 100 individuals getting ill in a matter of hours, as well as entire schools and daycare center norovirus outbreaks that shut down the operation in a single day.  On the upside, according to Food Poisoning Lawyer Tony Coveny, it is often called the 24 or 48 hour flu because it resolves in most individuals within a couple of days.  “However,” he says, “the elderly and those with compromised immune systems need to use extra case because the injuries can be serious.”

To speak to a Norovirus lawyer, call 1-888-335-4901