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The Norwalk virus is an example of a norovirus. It is currently the most common cause of gastrointestinal inflammation especially in confined places such as schools and nursing homes during the winter months when people are inside more frequently. It is so infectious that the amount of virus that can fit on the head of a pin could infect 1000 people—it infects up to 21 million people each year in the USA. There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness—it cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection. If you have norovirus illness, you should drink plenty of liquids, to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea, and stay home to prevent sharing it with your friends.
The image was created with a computer from X-ray crystallography data. The virus is approximately 40 nanometers in diameter.
Celebrate Pi Day on 3/14 with pie!
Jean Yves. Sgro, PhD, Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Wisconsin, Madison