During the past norovirus (NoV) epidemic season, a new GII.17 variant emerged as a predominant NoV strain, surpassed the GII.4 NoVs, causing outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in China. Here we report a study of an AGE outbreak in an elementary school in December 2014 caused by the new GII.17 NoV to explore the potential mechanism behind the sudden epidemics of the GII.17 NoV. A total of 276 individuals were sick with typical NoV infection symptoms of vomiting (93.4%), abdominal pain (90.4%), nausea (60.0%), and diarrhea (10.4%) at an attack rate of 5.7-16.9%. Genotyping of the symptomatic patients showed that individuals with a secretor positive status, including those with A, B, and O secretors and Lewis positive blood types, were sensitive to the virus, while the non-secretors and the Lewis negative individual were not. Accordingly, the recombinant capsid P protein of the GII.17 isolate showed a wide binding spectrum to saliva samples of all A, B, and O secretors. Thus, the broad binding spectrum of the new GII.17 variant could explain its widely spread nature in China and surrounding areas in the past two years.