A study by the University Hospital in Albacete, Spain finds that noroviruses were the principal definable causes of foodborne illnesses.

Norovirus commonly causes pediatric diarrhea in the region of Spain where the hospital is located. The study found the role of noroviruses in mixed infections requires additional study.

Three years of data, covering 2005-08, shows norovirus was the second most common agent implicated in acute sporadic episodes of gastroenteritis in children under age 5 who required hospitalization.

“Clinical and epidemiological characteristics of norovirus severe infection in children are not so well established and identifying the clinical profile of this infection would be useful because of the absence of rapid and widely-available detection methods in clinical laboratories, “ says the study report.

Norovirus was detected in 17.3 percent of the 221 study participants. Some of the characteristics researchers noted include:

  • Norovirus was present in 52.5 percent of 32 patients with mixed infections and was identified as the single etiological pathogen in 8.2 percent.
  • The most common symptoms were vomiting and fever.
  • The typical hospital stay was 3.5 days.
  • Norovirus affected mostly children under age 2.

More can be found in Infectious Diseases in Children.