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. noroviruspic_406x250 “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: Overview 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 (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)