The duration of immunity to norovirus (NoV) gastroenteritis has been believed to be from 6 months to 2 years. However, several observations are inconsistent with this short period. To gain better estimates of the duration of immunity to NoV, we developed a mathematical model of community NoV transmission. The model was parameterized from the literature and also fit to age-specific incidence data from England and Wales by using maximum likelihood. We developed several scenarios to determine the effect of unknowns regarding transmission and immunity on estimates of the duration of immunity. In the various models, duration of immunity to NoV gastroenteritis was estimated at 4.1 (95% CI 3.2-5.1) to 8.7 (95% CI 6.8-11.3) years. Moreover, we calculated that children (<5 years) are much more infectious than older children and adults. If a vaccine can achieve protection for duration of natural immunity indicated by our results, its potential health and economic benefits could be substantial.
Keywords: Norovirus; acute gastroenteritis; enteric infections; immunity; incidence; mathematical model; modeling; vaccination; vaccine development; viruses.