It’s the perfect human pathogen.
A 2015 CDC report on noro burden by Ben Lopeman describes the virus as “ubiquitous, associated with 18% (95% CI: 17-20%) of diarrheal disease globally, with similar proportions of disease in high- middle- and low- income settings. Norovirus is estimated to cause approximately 200,000 deaths annually worldwide, with 70,000 or more among children in developing countries.”
Express describes what happens when the virus infects.
The viral particles hit the stomach first, but it is only when they travel into the small intestine that the virus begins to multiply.
It enters the cells lining the intestine, making copies of itself and then the cells die, release more virus particles, and the process is repeated.
The immune system recognises that cells are ‘dying’ and as an immune response, antibodies travel to the small intestine and deactivate the virus. Experts say this is when the body will start to feel the effects of the virus – such as fever and nausea.
The virus causes the gut to become inflamed or irritated – which leads to vomiting and watery diarrhoea. This, medics say, is the body’s way of fighting the infection and trying to clear it from the body.