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Daniel Nelson, MD
Daniel Nelson, MD, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 258
Experience:  Licensed MD. Mayo Clinic Rochester trained physician in Internal Medicine - Critical Care Medicine.
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Sailed a cruise ship last week and now have gastrointestinal

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Sailed a cruise ship last week and now have gastrointestinal symptoms. The Noordam had lots of norovirus the previous cruise Just wondering if that is what I have, what are the symptoms of that virus and how long does it last?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Daniel Nelson, MD replied 9 years ago.

Greetings,Customer Thank you for submitting your question(s) to in the category of HEALTH. My name is ***** *****, MD. I am a licensed physician, trained throughout Internship, Residency/Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in the specialties of Internal Medicine and Critical Care.

The predominant symptom of Norovirus (NoV) is diarrhoea, which can be quite severe, fairly large volume and frequent initially, gradually tapering off to large volume less frequent, then smaller volume less frequent, then the beginnings of recovery. Some patients will have accompanying nausea and vomiting, but diarrhoea is predominant.

Incubation of the virus is only 1-2 days, so symptoms come on quickly following exposure. As few as 10-100 viral particals can cause infection, hence, it's highly transmissable via the fecal-oral route. About 10% of NoV infections occur at travel destinations and cruise ships, while restaurants and catered events account for another 40% ... and there is certainly overlap between restaurants and cruise ships.

If your symptoms are coming on a week after leaving the cruise ship, it's not likely NoV, because of that short incubation period. If it were NoV, I would have expected it to be more closely timed with, and perhaps even occurring on, the cruise ship.

The average duration of NoV is anywhere from 12 up to 60 hours. In practise, I see it lasting most often about 24-48 hours. There are quite a number of other pathogens that can cause similar symptoms, but many are bacterial-bourne gastrointestinal symptoms as well. Regardless, keep well hydrated with an electrolyte solution like Gatorade. Avoid rushing back into regular foods, especially dairy, as you may be lactose intolerant for a period following the gastroenteritis. Lactose-deprived or lactose-free products are okay as you are feeling better, like Yogurt or Sweet Acidophilus Milk.

Potassium can drop significantly with diarrhoea, so a good source of potassium replacement, not to mention a good "solid" foor during diarrhoeal episodes are bananas.

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