Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and/or intestines that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It is a major cause of death
worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis death is norovirus, a pathogen that is often foodborne.
Yesterday, the CDC reported the results of a study of gastroenteritis cases from 1999 to 2007. Over the eight-year study period, gastroenteritis-associated deaths from all causes increased from nearly 7,000 to more than 17,000 per year. Adults over 65 years old accounted for 83 percent of deaths.
Norovirus was associated with about 800 deaths annually, though there were 50 percent more deaths in years when epidemics were caused by new strains of the virus. Norovirus is highly contagious. It spreads through person-to-person contact and contaminated food, water, and surfaces. People can get norovirus illness throughout the year, but cases peaked between December-February. Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.
Our attorneys represent families who have lost loved ones after they contracted norovirus. In these cases, a restaurant, cruise ship, nursing home or other location has been linked to the norovirus outbreak that caused the death.