Noroviruses are viruses that are transmitted via fecally contaminated water and food, person to person contact, aerosolization of the virus, and contamination of surfaces. The virus flourishes in the winter because people spend less time inside and are closer to one another. Nororvirus outbreaks occur often in semi-closed communities such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, overnight camps, prisons, and cruises. Norovirus outbreaks occur throughout the year however over 80% of the outbreaks occur during November and April. When there are new strains of the virus new outbreaks tend to occur. Almost 67% of all norovirus outbreaks that occur in the U.S. occur in long-term care facilitites. These outbreaks are of great concern due to the large number of individuals with weakened immune systems. Outbreaks in this environment can last up to months. Norovirus is the leading cause of all food-borne illnesses in the United States. Nearly 50% of all cases in the U.S. from 2006 to 2011 were caused by the Norovirus. Cruise ships are also hot beds for norovirus activity. Due to the close living quarters, shared dining areas and rapid turnover of passengers the norovirus can pose a severe threat to one’s health. It is resistant to many common disinfectants which is why it is able to remain on surfaces throughout the ship.
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