Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in human beings. It is curable, with most people able to make a full recovery. However, if left untreated, it can be lethal due to dehydration. Norovirus accounts for many deaths each year, especially in less developed countries. Young children and the elderly are at the highest risk of death. The infection is transmitted through contaminated food or water or through contact with an infected individual. Most people have experienced some of the signs and symptoms of norovirus at some point.
Watery stool is the most common norovirus symptom, occurring in nearly all infected individuals. Usually, the person experiences an urgent and recurrent need for bowel movements. Eating anything may prompt a need to rush to the bathroom. The inability to retain food and the dehydration caused by loss of fluids and electrolytes leads to weakness and lethargy. Anti-diarrhea medications may control the symptoms, but as diarrhea is the body's way of getting rid of the virus, they may prolong the illness.
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