At the risk of being cast in the trash with all the other "back in the day" type posts, I am curious. Do the medical types here on this board have any history of Noro to impart? In all my travels including Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and QE2 from 1969 on, I never had or even heard of Norovirus. Is it a newly mutated germ or is it something in the food system? I am sure there were dirty spots on QE2 in the tight years but not these persistent outbreaks. Maybe I have just been lucky.Jim Avery, wow, that's a really good question. Here's what I found (published by the Australian Goverment Dept of Health and Ageing):
Gastroenteritis, that was probably due to norovirus, was first described by Zahorsky in 1929 as ‘winter vomiting disease’. However the agent was not identified until 1972, when virus particles were first visualised by electron microscopy (EM) in faeces obtained from an outbreak. The outbreak had occurred in 1968 at a school in Norwalk, Ohio, US, with a high attack rate of illness among students and teachers. The illness was characterised by nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea with duration of illness of 12–24 hours .
In Australia, the first confirmed norovirus outbreak occurred in 1978 and was associated with oyster consumption . The outbreak affected people across Australia, and norovirus was confirmed as the cause by visualisation of virus particles in patients’ faeces by EM and immuno-EM [13, 14]. This outbreak was one of the first recorded foodborne outbreaks of norovirus .
The discovery of the virus through EM was important because this was the first virus detected that was specifically associated with cases of acute gastroenteritis. For decades the role of the virus as a causative agent has been hampered by the insensitivity of microbiological diagnostics. It cannot be grown in cell culture and there is no small animal model. The only alternative is to test on human volunteers . Since the 1970s, the viruses were known as ‘Norwalk-Like Viruses’ (NLV) and ‘Small Round Structured Viruses’ (SRSV). The early names of these viruses were determined by the location where each strain was detected (e.g. Hawaii, Norwalk) or by their physical appearance as visualised with EM [15, 16].
In 2002, norovirus became the official genus name, following further investigation of the viral taxonomy by sensitive molecular techniques. Improvement in diagnostic techniques has allowed for rapid recognition of the causative agent in outbreaks and has changed the understanding of the clinical significance and epidemiology of this virus .
The full report (which I think is very interesting) can be found at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/pu...ovirus.htm-l-2
Jim, thanks again for such an interesting question. Regards, S.