According to new work by researchers from the Netherlands, New Zealand and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 14 percent of all norovirus outbreaks are attributed to contaminated food. Noroviruses are one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis worldwide. In the U.S., the virus causes 19-21 million illnesses, 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths. http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-norovirus-microorganism-medical-human-anatomy-image43059367The most common symptoms of a norovirus infection are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Other symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches. Anyone can be infected with norovirus and get sick, but illnesses can be especially serious for young children and older adults. Norovirus can be transmitted directly from person to person or indirectly through contaminated food, water and environments. To estimate the proportion of illnesses transmitted through food globally, the researchers aggregated and analyzed data from norovirus outbreaks that occurred between 1999 and 2012 from three international surveillance systems and peer-reviewed literature. Noroviruses are classified into at least six genogroups. A previous study on norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. showed that GI.3, GI.6, GI.7, GII.3, GII.6, and GII.12 were the genotypes most often associated with foodborne outbreaks and that, of the outbreaks with a known transmission route, 16 percent were foodborne. The new study, published in CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, found that worldwide, foodborne transmission is attributed to 10 percent of all genotype GII.4 outbreaks, 27 percent of outbreaks caused by all other single genotypes, and 37 percent of outbreaks caused by mixtures of GII.4 and other noroviruses. Determining the transmission route during an norovirus outbreak investigation is complicated because transmission can occur through multiple sources in a single outbreak. If a virus is first transmitted through food, it can continue person to person or through the environment, making it hard to trace the disease back to contaminated food. The researchers suggest that genotyping can help with source attribution for norovirus outbreaks. They wrote that with approximately “1 in 7 norovirus outbreaks being attributable to food, the foodborne transmission route represents a major target for intervention, particularly given the possibility of widespread exposures and the possibility of preventing not only primary but also secondary cases if contaminated foods are recalled from the market.”

  • rhino1121

    Need I say anything about this!

    • Gary

      Wash your fruits and veggies? Wash your hands? Don’t touch your face? Stay home when you are sick?

      • genebob1

        Don’t trust the grocery baskets you place your food to be all that clean either. I often wonder how often they are steam cleaned.

  • Jim Mann

    Does the number of annual deaths cited,
    570-800, include the deaths in nursing homes?

  • Lou

    Is it reasonable to say the remainder 86% of norovirus outbreaks are contributed from person to person ?

  • arrowhead

    Let’s try the headline another way; 86% of norovirus outbreaks ARE NOT caused by food. Wouldn’t that be the bigger story? Also, how often are foods contaminated with norovirus by infected food handlers? This story really lacks information and objectivity.

  • rhino1121

    The biggest percent of norovirus out breaks come from the cruse ships. As ship fitter/steel worker we worked on those ships every fall and winter. Below decks were the passengers never go. The crew you rarely notice live in conditions you have to see to believe. Instead of using proper lavatory’s they routinely use the bilge, buckets to defecate in, and urinate any place they feel like. On more than one instance I was witness to such practices. As result of years of working on these love boats I would not take a cruise or love or money. The below deck areas are breeding ground for norovirus, any other warm moist liking virus or bacteria. Year after year we all read about this ship born out breaks yet people still go these in droves. Also if you look at the way the contracts are written you will find the cruse lines can not be held liable for anything. Happy Cruising!

    • sailor

      I don’t know on which ship you have been, but this is notorious lie.. Poor you..