Episodes of acute gastroenteritis can be very costly in terms of lost time in school and work. Acute gastroenteritis can also ruin vacations and sometimes leads to death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that norovirus is a very contagious virus
and the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. MedPage Today reported on Oct. 4, 2013, "CDC Data: Norovirus Can Be Killer."
Researchers have reported that from 2009 to 2010 norovirus was the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks and associated hospitalizations and deaths in the United States. Norovirus was found to be associated with more than two-thirds of gastroenteritis outbreaks and 86% of deaths from acute gastroenteritis in outbreaks with a single suspected or confirmed source. Norovirus was the cause of 46% of gastroenteritis hospitalizations.
In 2009 the CDC launched the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS), which greatly improved existing foodborne and waterborne disease outbreak surveillance systems. In 2011 the FDA approved the first norovirus test. Other single outbreak etiologies include Salmonella, Shigella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Cryptosporidium, and other agents. Efforts are ongoing to prevent and treat norovirus and other causes of gastroenteritis.