Who: Nearly everyone is susceptible to norovirus, and the symptoms can be serious, especially for young children and older adults with compromised immune systems.
What: Each year, norovirus causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations, including some 800 deaths from symptoms similar to those seen with influenza.
Where: Common on cruise ships, in daycare centers, amongst retirement communities and other locations where individuals are in close quarters, norovirus can spread quickly if not eradicated immediately through disinfection or sterilization.
When: In the U.S., norovirus outbreaks are virulent from November to April — leading to the common classification of norovirus as “the winter vomiting bug” — and the virus can remain live in fecal matter for two weeks or more after an individual stops exhibiting symptoms.
Why: Norovirus, which has numerous strains, is transmittable from an infected person, tainted food and water or by touching contaminated surfaces; being infected with one type of norovirus will not cause immunity in other strains, and one can fall ill with norovirus numerous times throughout their life.