Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Norovirus Also Sickens 1 Million U.S. Kids Yearly

Norovirus has overtaken rotavirus in causing gastric illness, CDC study finds

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Norovirus, the infamous stomach bug that's sickened countless cruise ship passengers, also wreaks havoc on land.

Each year, many children visit their doctor or an emergency room due to severe vomiting and diarrhea caused by norovirus, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC report estimated the cost of those illnesses at more than $273 million annually.

"The main point we found was that the health care burden in children under 5 years old from norovirus was surprisingly great, causing nearly 1 million medical visits per year," said the study's lead author, Daniel Payne, an epidemiologist with the CDC. "The second point was that, for the first time, norovirus health care visits have exceeded those for rotavirus."

Rotavirus is a common gastrointestinal illness for which there is now a vaccine.

It's important to note that the rate of norovirus hasn't been increasing in young children, Payne said. The reason norovirus is now responsible for more health care visits than rotavirus is that the incidence of rotavirus infection is dropping because the rotavirus vaccine is working well.

Results of the study are published in the March 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Norovirus is a viral illness that can affect anyone, according to the CDC. It commonly causes nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Most people recover from a norovirus infection in a day or two, but the very young and the very old -- as well as those with underlying medical conditions -- have a greater risk of becoming dehydrated when they're sick with norovirus.

The virus is very contagious. Payne said it takes as few as 18 norovirus particles to infect someone. By comparison, a flu virus may take between 100 and 1,000 virus particles to cause infection. Payne said people who have been infected can also keep spreading the virus even after they feel better.

Norovirus is difficult to diagnose definitively. The test that can confirm the virus is costly and time consuming, Payne said, so there have not been good data on how many children are affected by it each year.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration