Difference Between Norovirus and Rotavirus

Both norovirus and rotavirus are very infectious and can cause dehydration due to symptoms like diarrhea. Noroviruses are members of the family Caliciviridae and have a round form, while rotaviruses are members of the family Reoviridae and have a wheel-like structure. How they spread, when they show up most frequently, and in what kinds of populations they thrive are all ways in which these two virus types are distinct. Despite these distinctions, both norovirus and rotavirus should be treated appropriately to avoid serious health problems.

As you read this article, you'll have a better understanding of the distinctions between these infections.

What is Norovirus Infection

The symptoms of norovirus infection, caused by a member of the family Caliciviridae, often appear within the first 12 to 48 hours following infection. Norovirus may easily spread from person to person through close contact. The virus causes severe, sudden nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that can linger for up to three days.

Potential causes − Human and animal carriers of norovirus both excrete the virus in their feces. Contaminated food or water, contact with an infected person, or touching a contaminated surface before putting one's lips on it are all potential entry points for this virus.

Symptoms − Norovirus generally manifests with the following symptoms

  • Irresistible need to throw up

  • Experiencing discomfort in the stomach

  • Chills and a high temperature

  • Watery diarrhea that lasts a long time

Risk factors − Eating at unsanitary restaurants, traveling to school, living in crowded conditions, and coming into touch with sick people are all factors that might increase your likelihood of contracting norovirus. The norovirus may strike at any time of year.

Treatment and Prevention − There is currently no cure for norovirus, although replacing fluids and electrolytes lost during vomiting and diarrhea is crucial. In extreme situations, a doctor may give anti-diarrheal drugs. Washing hands often, according to safe food handling procedures, disinfecting contaminated surfaces and things, and sanitizing locations where vomiting and diarrhea have occurred are all recommended measures for reducing the spread of norovirus.

What is Rotavirus Infection?

The symptoms of rotavirus infection, a contagious virus of the family Reoviridae, often appear within 48 hours after infection. It's important to note that the rotavirus is also very infectious and may be spread from person to person. Unlike norovirus, rotavirus is more commonly observed in youngsters.

Potential causes − Human feces contain rotavirus because the virus is spread through human feces. Direct contamination of the mouth and nose can result in infection (even if the infected individual shows no symptoms). The virus may live for weeks on contaminated surfaces, including food and water. As this virus mostly affects infants and toddlers, there is a considerable risk of transmission through contact with soiled diapers.

Symptoms − Rotavirus often causes the following symptoms −

  • symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, and a high-temperature

  • diarrhea with a lot of water loss

  • Mild to severe dehydration

Risk Factors − Caring for or being around children aged 3 months to 3 years greatly increases your chance of contracting rotavirus. Most cases of rotavirus happen between October and March.

Treatment and Prevention − Although there is currently no cure for rotavirus, it is recommended that patients drink plenty of water to restore their electrolytes. When dealing with this virus, you shouldn't take anything that stops diarrhea. Infants can be protected from rotavirus by receiving one of the two available rotavirus vaccinations.

Differences between Norovirus and Rotavirus

The following table highlights the major differences between Norovirus and Rotavirus −




Commonly infected groups


Children under 3 years of age

Duration of the viral infection

1-3 days

3-7 days

Unique symptoms per viral infection

Body aches, Nausea


Preventative measures against potential infection

  • Good hygiene practices

  • Clean food practices

    Disinfecting surfaces

Vaccination (2 different types)

Risk factors for contracting the virus

  • Unhygienic food services

  • Densely populated environments

  • School going individuals

  • Contact with infected individuals

Caring for/being in the presence of children between 3 months-3 years old

Time of year the virus is most prevalent

All year long

Usually, winter months and cooler times of the year


Both norovirus and rotavirus can cause severe stomach sickness and diarrhoea. The adult population is more commonly affected by norovirus, which can occur at any time of year. Children between the ages of 3 months and 3 years old are most susceptible to rotavirus infection, and cases tend to spike in the winter.

Illness caused by the norovirus often lasts for about three to four days. Patients infected with the rotavirus might be unwell for up to a week. There is currently no cure for either virus, although anti-diarrheal drugs should not be used on patients with rotavirus. Contact with sick people, living in overcrowded conditions, consuming tainted food, and preparing food without proper sanitation standards are all risk factors for contracting norovirus. Transmission of the rotavirus typically occurs through contact with sick children or their belongings (such as changing diapers and not washing your hands).

In contrast to the rotavirus, which has an effective vaccination, the norovirus is mostly prevented by adhering to good hygiene standards and cleaning surfaces.