Health Notes blogger, Prue Salasky, is on vacation for two weeks. In her absence, Features Department Editor Karen Morgan is making occasional blog posts. This one is a news release from Baylor College of Medicine.
"An experimental norovirus vaccine provided significant protection against both viral infection and its associated gastrointestinal illness in a study of nearly 80 subjects, said a consortium of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (www.nejm.org).
“This study shows it is feasible to make a vaccine that will protect against norovirus infection and the illness it causes,” said Dr. Robert Atmar (http://www.bcm.edu/medicine/infectious/?pmid=7819), professor of medicine – infectious diseases at BCM and first author of the paper. “Given the number of norovirus infections that occur annually and the healthcare costs associated with these infections, it is worthwhile to continue the investigation of vaccine candidates to prevent this illness caused by these viruses.”
"This study represents the first clinical demonstration of vaccine protection against norovirus illness. Currently, there is no specific treatment for norovirus illness other than replacing fluids and medication to help symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, said Atmar.
"The frequencies of illness and viral infection were less among the research subjects who received the vaccine than those who received a placebo or inactive medication, said Atmar.
Norovirus infection is one of the most common causes of acute stomach and intestinal illness characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The CDC estimates that approximately 21 million Americans are infected by noroviruses annually, and these viruses are an important cause of gastroenteritis worldwide. Norovirus has also been referred to as the “cruise ship virus” because of its predilection for causing outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on these ships."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun