Purpose of review: The purpose of the review is to provide an update on control measures for norovirus (NoV), which is the most commonly implicated pathogen in acute gastroenteritis and outbreaks, causing major disruption in nurseries, schools, hospitals and care homes.
Recent findings: Important developments include the discovery that virus particles, previously considered to be the infectious unit, also occur in clusters, which appear to be more virulent than individual virus particles; a working culture system using human stem-cell derived enteroids; promising results from early phase clinical trials of candidate NoV vaccines, which appear to be safe and immunogenic; chronic NoV affects patients with primary and secondary immune deficiencies. Although several treatments have been used none are supported by well designed clinical trials; infection control procedures are effective if properly implemented.
Summary: NoV remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Although there are exciting developments on the vaccine front, the mainstay of control remains good hand hygiene, adherence to infection control procedures and limiting contamination of food, water and the wider environment. Once vaccines are available there will be important decisions to be made about how best to implement them.