All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > A to Z > N > A to Z: Norovirus
A to Z: Norovirus

A to Z: Norovirus

May also be called: Norwalk virus; Norwalk-like virus

A norovirus (nor-uh-VY-rus) is a group of related viruses that can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).

More to Know

Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States, affecting more than 20 million people each year. Infection with a norovirus can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fatigue, and mild fever.

Noroviruses are highly contagious and often spread quickly in crowded, closed places like cruise ships, childcare centers, schools, and nursing homes. Noroviruses are spread through the vomit and feces of infected individuals. People can become infected with a norovirus by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water, or coming into contact with infected people or objects.

There is no specific treatment for norovirus infection. Although the condition is rarely serious, it can cause dehydration, which can lead to serious complications, especially in young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

Keep in Mind

In most cases, norovirus infections will get better in a few days without treatment. People infected with a norovirus should make sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Washing hands well and often can help stop the spread of noroviruses.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Related Articles
K    "Stomach Flu"
P    A to Z: Gastroenteritis
P    Dehydration
T    Dehydration
P    Diarrhea
T    Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrhea
T    Hand Washing
P    Vomiting
K    What's the Big Sweat About Dehydration?
K    Why Do I Have to Wash My Hands After Using the Bathroom?
P    Why Is Hand Washing So Important?
T    Why Should I Care About Germs?
K    Word! Gastroenteritis
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2015 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved