Science Questions

Are there different norovirus strains?

Mon, 24th Feb 2014

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show The Noro Show


Josephine Ong asked:

Can you explain how does our body fight Norovirus? And are there many kinds or strains of noroviruses?



Lydia -   Yes.  So, one of the things that we’ve noticed with  norovirus in all the sampling that there is, is there are a number of different strains.  We call these genotypes of norovirus and there are also geno groups.  So, there's kind of a wide variety.  And as you mentioned Chris, you could be presumably infected twice in a year or even in a short period of time by two different strains.  Although as was mentioned, there are predominant strains that circulate.  Now, these move around the world quite rapidly.  We’ve seen looking at all the data that those in GenBank, so that's everybody’s analysis of the virus from the genetic material in the virus.  We can see the same virus moving for 10 to 20 years and spreading within the same year from the US to China, from the UK to Southeast Asia.  So, really quite rapid spread.

Chris -   Okay, so Keith, if Lydia’s result show that people are infectious for 3 weeks, what's that going to do to your budget if you have to put the staff off work for 3 weeks?

Keith -   I think it will come back to evidence as to what that actually means because we control outbreaks now without having staff off.  So, the question I think is, how does that shedding actually translate into the spread of disease?  We don't know that at the moment, but we’d be guided by the evidence.  If it has implications, it has implications and we have to plan for that.


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