Acute gastroenteritis can be very costly in terms of lost days at school and work, and even premature deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes that every year norovirus causes 19-21 million illnesses and is associated with 56,000- 71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths. Science Daily reported on Oct. 14, 2013, "Norovirus Vaccine Reduces Symptoms of Illness by More Than Half."
Research suggests an investigational vaccine appears generally well tolerated and effective against the most common strain of norovirus. This vaccine reduced the main symptoms of the gastrointestinal (GI) infection, vomiting and/or diarrhea, by 52 percent. At this time there is no actual treatment or cure for norovirus, which is the most common cause of severe GI infection in the United States.
Because norovirus is highly contagious, significant outbreaks occur in health care facilities, childcare centers and other places where people are in close quarters, such as in the military and on cruise ships. It has been estimated that the overall cost of norovirus infection in the United States is $5.5 billion annually.
David I. Bernstein, MD, MA, professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has said, "The results of our study are promising and our next step is to test this vaccine in a real-world setting." The investigational vaccine targets two genotypes of norovirus: GI.1 and GII.4. GII.4 is now the leading cause of norovirus outbreaks in the United States. This vaccine seems to hold significant promise to help cope with infections by norovirus.