We conducted a systematic review of studies that used reverse transcription-PCR to diagnose norovirus (NoV) infections in patients with mild or moderate (outpatient) and severe (hospitalized) diarrhea. NoVs accounted for 12%(95% confidence interval [CI] 10%-15%) of severe gastroenteritis cases among children <5 years of age and 12% (95% CI 9%-15%) of mild and moderate diarrhea cases among persons of all ages. Of 19 studies among children <5 years of age, 7 were in developing countries where pooled prevalence of severe NoV disease (12%) was comparable to that for industrialized countries (12%). We estimate that each year NoVs cause 64,000 episodes of diarrhea requiring hospitalization and 900,000 clinic visits among children in industrialized countries, and up to 200,000 deaths of children <5 years of age in developing countries. Future efforts should focus on developing targeted strategies, possibly even vaccines, for preventing NoV disease and better documenting their impact among children living in developing countries, where >95% of the deaths from diarrhea occur.
- Caliciviridae Infections/virology
- Disease Outbreaks
- Norovirus/isolation & purification