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Testing, Treatment & Care - Norovirus

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Published on January 04, 2017. Last modified on April 12, 2017

Girl drinking water - CDCYour medical provider may diagnosis norovirus based on symptoms alone (acute onset of vomiting and diarrhea).  A laboratory test called “PCR” (polymerase chain reaction) is very accurate at detecting norovirus.  Your medical provider will ask for a sample of your feces.  The sample will be sent to a laboratory, where a test is run to look for norovirus DNA.

There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness.  Norovirus infection 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.  This will help prevent dehydration.  Sports drinks and other drinks without caffeine or alcohol can help with mild dehydration.  However, these drinks may not replace important nutrients and minerals.  Oral rehydration fluids that you can get over the counter are most helpful for mild dehydration. Dehydration can lead to serious problems.  Severe dehydration may require hospitalization for treatment with fluids given through your vein (intravenous or IV fluids).  If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, call the doctor.