Norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting and diarrhea — and after a fallow period during the pandemic, it’s back and impacting the U.S. this winter.
There are normally around 2,500 reported norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. each year, and most of these occur from November to April. At any one time, as many as 30 percent of the U.S. population may be carrying norovirus. And this season, the numbers are up, with the CDC reporting over 30 percent more norovirus outbreaks between August 2022 and January 2023 than the same period in the last seasonal year.
Unfortunately, this annual trend also overlaps with the winter school semesters, when kids and teachers tend to be in close proximity to each other indoors. Close quarters, shared spaces, and high-touch surfaces make it easy for norovirus to spread in schools. Each year, on average, norovirus is responsible for 465,000 emergency department visits — and most of the visits are young children. Norovirus outbreaks result in a median of over 184,000 missed school and work days annually — and median productivity losses equate to $165.3 million.