Norovirus: Infectious Disease and Stored Water

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• What is the infectious agent (pathogen) that causes this infectious disease? For example, the name of the bacteria, virus, or parasite. The infectious agent I choose is the Norovirus. The Norovirus is a small virus that is highly contagious. The Norovirus is also the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is often referred to as the stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of gastrointestinal tract. This includes the stomach and intestines. The inflammation usually results in diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. The Illness usually last about three days and then goes away on its own. The origin of this virus is Norwalk Ohio. The first outbreak was in 1968 in a small school. The Norovirus is often referred to as the Norwalk virus because of its origin.

• How is this infectious agent transmitted through food or water?
The Norovirus is transmitted through food, water, and contaminated individuals. This virus is extremely common on cruise ships and places where there is a huge amount of stored water. The other main contributors of the spread of this virus have been restaurants, schools, and nursing homes. You can catch this virus from eating infected foods or drinking infected water. Infection occurs when humans inadvertently ingest material contaminated with small amounts of fluids or feces from an infected person. It only takes a small number of viruses to cause infection, so even microscopic amounts of feces or fluids can be contagious.

• What is an example of a real life outbreak of this foodborne illness in the United States?
The first recorded outbreak was in 1968 in Norwalk Ohio. It was found in a small school. The virus was not identified until four years later, in 1972, and it was the first virus to have ever been identified in the US to cause Gastroenteritis. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 23 million cases of gastroenteritis is cause d by the Norovirus. This...
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