We often find ourselves running from one Norovirus outbreak to another on this blog.   There have been so many in the past year that it has left us little time to look at other Norovirus-related news.

That’s why we are especially happy to pass along information about some research going on in the Pacific Northwest that holds the promise of providing solutions for water-borne Norovirus.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has won a $600,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for a research project that will develop an automated method for quantifying and monitoring viruses in water that cause gastrointestinal illness.

“EPA wants to find out where exactly the virus comes from and how prevalent it is in our drinking water supply,” said Tim Straub, a senior research scientist at PNNL.  He spoke with the Kennewick, WA based Tri-City Herald.  The newspaper said:

Straub’s research deals with human norovirus, which is transmitted through consumption of fecally contaminated water or food and by direct contact with an infected person.

An estimated 23 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are caused by norovirus infection in the U.S., the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its website.

But it’s not easy to monitor the virus, because it occurs in small quantities in a very large volume of water. So, it’s possible that if two people drink water from the same source, only one may become infected with the virus.

EPA wants to help eliminate that probability factor by supporting research that makes it easier to detect the virus in water supply systems, he said.

The rest of the story can be found here.