Fecal control for the presence of Norovirus antigen is used for laboratory documentation of the virus as a cause of gastroenteritis.
Noroviruses are a genetically heterogeneous group of viruses, which contain a single chain of RNA, are not surrounded by envelope and belong to the family of Caliciviridae viruses. For decades, this group of viruses has been termed "SRSV, Small Round Structured Viruses", or Norwalk viruses until very recently where their classification was investigated using modern molecular biology methods. While 4 different antigenic types of SRSV were initially identified, they eventually resulted in the identification of 3 different types within the genus of Noroviruses. Type 1 (including Norwalk type) and type 2 are associated with human infections while type 3 is associated with infections in bovine and porcine animals.
Noroviruses are a major cause of acute gastroenteritis with a worldwide distribution and very often cause epidemics. They are highly contagious, and the number of viral particles that need to be inoculated to be able to cause disease is only 10. The virus is transmitted by eating contaminated food and water and contact from person to person. The virus is typically transmitted via the faecal-oral route but can also be transmitted through the vomiting particles that contain several particles of the virus.
The disease is acute after a 24 - 48 hour incubation period, usually mild in intensity, although it can cause severe problems in the elderly and self-limited. Noroviruses’ ability to cause epidemics indoors (schools, institutions, etc.) can create serious public health problems. Infections in newborns, the elderly and other vulnerable groups can be fatal if not properly addressed.
Symptoms of Norovirus infection usually include nausea, vomiting (especially in children), diarrhea and stomach cramps. Sometimes low fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness can coexist. Onset of the disease is usually sudden and the patient may feel very ill. In most cases the disease is self-limiting with symptoms lasting 1 to 2 days.
The disease can be confirmed by checking for the presence of the virus in the faeces (both types of human-infected virus - Type 1 & Type 2 are screened).
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.