NoroVirus - Cruise ship passengers and diarrhea disease
January 17 2017

Noroviruses are the most common cause of sporadic and epidemic gastroenteritis in the United States and Europe and are responsible for 20% of acute gastroenteritis worldwide.

Noroviruses, characterized by stomach flu-like symptoms, affect about 23 million Americans annually. Noroviruses are the most common cause of stomach illness. They almost always cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as other symptoms. They are easily passed on by people who do not wash their hands properly and can cause outbreaks in restaurants, cruise ships and other large gatherings.
   The expected incidence of gastroenteritis per seven-day cruise has increased from two cases between 1990 and 2000 to three cases in between 2001 and 200. The increase seen at sea is paralleled by an increase in the prevalence of norovirus -associated gastroenteritis on land. The illness is common in Scandinavia, the UK, Europe and North America. Norovirus is a frequent cause of gastroenteritis and its symptoms -- including diarrhea and vomiting -- are unpleasant but rarely dangerous. The virus is transmitted through person-to-person contact, contaminated food or water, or by touching a contaminated surface, such as elevator buttons and stair handrails.
   2006 -  A single employee of a sandwich chain who came back to work too early after suffering from a stomach virus infected more than 100 office workers who ate party-sized submarine sandwiches last year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the man passed a norovirus on to three separate office parties in Kent County, Michigan in 2005.
   2006 - More than 700 people on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Italy to Florida have been hit by a stomach virus producing flu-like symptoms. The gastrointestinal illness, most likely caused by a strain of highly contagious Norovirus, has affected 556 passengers and 154 crew members aboard the Carnival Liberty, the ship's operator, Miami-based Carnival Corp.. Most of those affected have recovered and that the ship, which departed from Civitavecchia outside Rome on Nov. 3, is scheduled to make port in Ft. Lauderdale.
   2006 - More than 380 passengers and crew aboard the world’s largest cruise ship were sickened by a virus during a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Norovirus sickened 338 passengers and 46 crew members about the Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, and they were treated with over-the-counter medication, the Miami-based company said. The ship, which had roughly 3,800 passengers and 1,300 crew members, returned as scheduled to the Port of Miami. Crew members sanitized frequently touched surfaces such as railings, door handles and elevator buttons after the short-lived outbreak began, officials said. A guest previously exposed to norovirus likely brought it on board Nov. 26, the company said.

Role of food and plant extracts for prevention or treatment
The effects of 13 food extracts and juices, including shellfish, fruits, and vegetables, on the binding ability of human norovirus (NoV) were examined. Cranberry and pomegranate juices were shown to reduce the specific binding ability of human norovirus particles. No such binding inhibition effects were observed for the other tested extracts of fresh produce (strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, cherry tomato, spinach, romaine lettuce) or, notably, for raspberry, which has been associated with human NoV outbreaks. Journal Food Prot. 2012.

Curr Protoc Microbiol. 2013. Human norovirus detection and production, quantification, and storage of virus-like particles. Human noroviruses constitute a significant worldwide disease burden. Each year, noroviruses cause over 267 million infections, deaths in over 200,000 children under the age of five, and over 50% of U.S. food-borne illness. Due to the absence of a tissue culture model or small animal model to study human norovirus, virus-like particles (VLPs) and ELISA-based biological assays have been used to answer questions about norovirus evolution and immunity as well to provide a potential vaccine platform. This chapter outlines the protocols for norovirus detection in stool, as well as norovirus VLP design, production, purification, and storage using a Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEE)-based virus replicon particle (VRP) expression system.