Norovirus cases came surging back in 2022. Experts believe the virus will soon return to its normal seasonality.
Out with the new, in with the old? As COVID slowly exits the epidemiological limelight (but is still very much here to stay), outbreaks of another icky germ — norovirus — are making a comeback and returning to prepandemic numbers, according to a new CDC report.
Commonly known as the stomach flu, “cruise ship virus,” food poisoning, or stomach bug, norovirus is the kind of germ that you never forget if you (and likely all your family and friends at the same time) experience its symptoms. It is an extremely contagious pathogen that causes acute gastroenteritis, or inflammation in the stomach or intestines, resulting in intense bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and nausea. Symptoms can last up to three days and can also include headaches, fever, and body aches in some people.
Even though it’s sometimes called a stomach flu, it has nothing to do with influenza, the respiratory virus that comes in waves every year. There’s no vaccine for norovirus.
Contact with contaminated poop or vomit particles may get you sick, and that can happen while sharing eating utensils, consuming meals or liquids prepared by an infected person, or changing a diaper, for example. While norovirus affects people of all ages, children under 5 and adults 65 or older are more likely than people in other age groups to come down with serious symptoms.