Noroviruses: The Leading Cause of Gastroenteritis Worldwide

Discov Med. 2010 Jul;10(50):61-70.


Noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne disease outbreaks worldwide, and may soon eclipse rotaviruses as the most common cause of severe pediatric gastroenteritis, as the use of rotavirus vaccines becomes more widespread. Genetic mutations and recombinations contribute to the broad heterogeneity of noroviruses and the emergence of new epidemic strains. Although typically a self-limited disease, norovirus gastroenteritis can cause significant morbidity and mortality among children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. The lack of a cell culture or small animal model has hindered norovirus research and the development of novel therapeutic and preventative interventions. However, vaccines based on norovirus capsid protein virus-like particles are promising and may one day become widely available through transgenic expression in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gastroenteritis / epidemiology*
  • Gastroenteritis / immunology
  • Gastroenteritis / therapy
  • Gastroenteritis / virology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Infection Control
  • Norovirus / genetics*