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Worldwide human and economic costs of norovirus are huge

Leave it to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to put a price tag on the worldwide cost of norovirus. After a CDC-sponsored symposium in February, scientists and experts calculated the global numbers, estimating 200,000 deaths and an economic cost of $60 billion annually.

The Public Library of Science (PLOS), a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians, Tuesday released a series of reports stemming from the February gathering. The group was charged with identifying key gaps and determining what studies are needed, especially to help children in the developing world deal with norovirus.


“Each year, norovirus causes over 200,000 deaths and a global economic burden of more than $60 billion. A highly contagious virus that most people will contract 5 times in their lifetime, the most serious outcomes of the disease – hospitalization and death – are far more common among children and the elderly, and in low and middle income countries,” the PLOS website states.

In addition to determining the annual human and economic damages, the new PLOS collection found:

  • Norovirus rates are higher among the military than the civilian population.
  • Local burden data in 14 African counties was found lacking, and the incidence of norovirus in a developing country such as Kenya are double that experienced in the United States or United Kingdom.
  • Some of the most common strains of norovirus were also common in sporadic cases.

The PLOS collection includes such areas as global and local burdens of norovirus, molecular epidemiology, and the biological challenges of developing a vaccine. Norovirus vaccines would be the most efficient approach to preventing the disease with the largest global impact.

Among the newly filed work are these articles:


The Vast and Varied Global Burden of Norovirus: Prospects for Prevention and Control

Benjamin A. Lopman, Duncan Steele, Carl D. Kirkwood, Umesh D. Parashar | PLOS Medicine

Burden of Norovirus

Global Economic Burden of Norovirus Gastroenteritis

Sarah M. Bartsch, Benjamin A. Lopman, Sachiko Ozawa, Aron J. Hall, Bruce Y. Lee | PLOS ONE

Norovirus Epidemiology in Africa: A Review

Janet Mans, George E. Armah, A. Duncan Steele, Maureen B. Taylor | PLOS ONE

Population-Based Incidence Rates of Diarrheal Disease Associated with Norovirus, Sapovirus, and Astrovirus in Kenya

Kayoko Shioda, Leonard Cosmas, Allan Audi, Nicole Gregoricus, Jan Vinjé, Umesh, D. Parashar, Joel M. Montgomery, Daniel R. Feikin, Robert F. Breiman, Aron J. Hall | PLOS ONE

Incidence of Norovirus and Other Viral Pathogens That Cause Acute Gastroenteritis (AGE) among Kaiser Permanente Member Populations in the United States, 2012–2013

Scott P. Grytdal, Emilio DeBess, Lore E. Lee, David Blythe, Patricia Ryan, Christianne Biggs, Miriam Cameron, Mark Schmidt, Umesh D. Parashar, Aron J. Hall | PLOS ONE

Incidence of Norovirus-Associated Medical Encounters among Active Duty United States Military Personnel and Their Dependents

Brian Rha, Benjamin A. Lopman, Ashley N. Alcala, Mark S. Riddle, Chad K. Porter | PLOS ONE

Molecular Epidemiology

Early Detection of Epidemic GII-4 Norovirus Strains in UK and Malawi: Role of Surveillance of Sporadic Acute Gastroenteritis in Anticipating Global Epidemics

David J. Allen, Eamonn Trainor, Anna Callaghan, Sarah J. O’Brien, Nigel, A. Cunliffe, Miren Iturriza-Gómara | PLOS ONE

Norovirus Recombinant Strains Isolated from Gastroenteritis Outbreaks in Southern Brazil, 2004–2011

Tulio Machado Fumian, Juliana da Silva Ribeiro de Andrade, José Paulo, Gagliardi Leite, Marize Pereira Miagostovich | PLOS ONE

A Multi-Site Study of Norovirus Molecular Epidemiology in Australia and New Zealand, 2013-2014

Kun Lee Lim, Joanne Hewitt, Alefiya Sitabkhan, John-Sebastian Eden, Jennifer Lun, Avram Levy, Juan Merif, David Smith, William D. Rawlinson, Peter A. White | PLOS ONE

Natural History, Host-Pathogen Interaction

Vomiting as a Symptom and Transmission Risk in Norovirus Illness: Evidence from Human Challenge Studies

Amy E. Kirby, Ashleigh Streby, Christine L. Moe | PLOS ONE

Correlates of Protection against Norovirus Infection and Disease—Where Are We Now, Where Do We Go?

Sasirekha Ramani, Mary K. Estes, Robert L. Atmar | PLOS Pathogens

Innate Resistance and Susceptibility to Norovirus Infection

Johan Nordgren, Sumit Sharma, Anita Kambhampati, Ben Lopman, Lennart Svensson | PLOS Pathogens

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