Norovirus Seroprevalence among Adults in the United States: Analysis of NHANES Serum Specimens from 1999-2000 and 2003-2004

Viruses. 2020 Feb 5;12(2):179. doi: 10.3390/v12020179.


Norovirus is the most common cause of epidemic and endemic acute gastroenteritis. However, national estimates of the infection burden are challenging. This study used a nationally representative serum bank to estimate the seroprevalence to five norovirus genotypes including three GII variants: GI.1 Norwalk, GI.4, GII.3, GII.4 US95/96, GII.4 Farmington Hills, GII.4 New Orleans, and GIV.1 in the USA population (aged 16 to 49 years). Changes in seroprevalence to the three norovirus GII.4 variants between 1999 and 2000, as well as 2003 and 2004, were measured to examine the role of population immunity in the emergence of pandemic GII.4 noroviruses. The overall population-adjusted seroprevalence to any norovirus was 90.0% (1999 to 2000) and 95.9% (2003 to 2004). Seroprevalence was highest to GI.1 Norwalk, GII.3, and the three GII.4 noroviruses. Seroprevalence to GII.4 Farmington Hills increased significantly between the 1999 and 2000, as well as the 2003 and 2004, study cycles, consistent with the emergence of this pandemic strain. Seroprevalence to GII.4 New Orleans also increased over time, but to a lesser degree. Antibodies against the GIV.1 norovirus were consistently detected (population-adjusted seroprevalence 19.1% to 25.9%), with rates increasing with age. This study confirms the high burden of norovirus infection in US adults, with most adults having multiple norovirus infections over their lifetime.

Keywords: NHANES; Norwalk virus; norovirus; seroprevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / blood
  • Caliciviridae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Norovirus / genetics*
  • Norovirus / immunology
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • RNA, Viral