Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Noroviruses Cause Repeated Outbreaks Of 'Stomach Flu'

Date:
February 13, 2008
Source:
PLoS Medicine
Summary:
Noroviruses, which are highly contagious, cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While most people recover within a few days, the very young and old may experience severe disease. Although maintaining hydration is essential, there is no specific treatment for infection. Norovirus, a common cause of gastroenteritis ("stomach flu"), could potentially be controlled by a vaccine.

Norovirus, a common cause of gastroenteritis ("stomach flu"), could potentially be controlled by a vaccine. But because the virus evolves to avoid the immune system, the vaccine might have to be modified from year to year, according to new research published in PLoS Medicine by Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and colleagues.

Noroviruses, which are highly contagious, cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While most people recover within a few days, the very young and old may experience severe disease. Although maintaining hydration is essential, there is no specific treatment for infection. As with influenza, epidemics of norovirus infection occur periodically (often in closed communities such as cruise ships), and most people have several norovirus infections during their lifetime. This winter the UK has seen almost twice as many norovirus cases compared to the same period last year.

Noroviruses infect cells after attaching to molecules called histo-blood group antigens (HBGA) present on the cell surface. HBGAs comprise a family of complex sugar molecules that exist in great variety among human beings. The researchers found that this variety provides the key to understanding how norovirus outbreaks continue to occur, even in populations that have previously been exposed to noroviruses and therefore harbor antibodies against them.

By analyzing noroviruses isolated from several outbreaks, the researchers found that the viruses evolved to avoid attack by antibodies the hosts developed against them. Over time, some viruses selected in this way attain a shape that enables them to bind to one of the other forms of HBGA, and thereafter are not only resistant to previously existing antibodies, but are also able to infect cells carrying that particular form of HBGA. These viruses can then cause a new outbreak, and the cycle repeats itself.

This continuing evolution of new replacement strains suggests that vaccines could be designed to protect against norovirus infection, but that, as with influenza vaccines, ongoing epidemiologic surveillance and reformulations of norovirus vaccines will be needed.

In a related perspective article, Ben Lopman and colleagues at the UK Health Protection Agency, who were not involved in the study, discuss the evolution of noroviruses and the implications of this research for the control of future outbreaks.

Citation: Lindesmith LC, Donaldson EF, LoBue AD, Cannon JL, Zheng DP, et al. (2008) Mechanisms of GII.4 norovirus persistence in human populations. PLoS Med 5(2): e31. http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050031


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PLoS Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

PLoS Medicine. "How Noroviruses Cause Repeated Outbreaks Of 'Stomach Flu'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212085836.htm>.
PLoS Medicine. (2008, February 13). How Noroviruses Cause Repeated Outbreaks Of 'Stomach Flu'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212085836.htm
PLoS Medicine. "How Noroviruses Cause Repeated Outbreaks Of 'Stomach Flu'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080212085836.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins