Human Norovirus: Can it spread from dogs?

A recent article published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology suggests that some dogs can mount an immune response against Human Norovirus. making them potential reservoirs and sources for this virus which has been implicated in a number of gastroenteritis outbreaks of late, most prominently amongst cruise ship passengers and crews.

However, this is too early to jump to conclusions about zoonotic implications of Norovirus disease as there are several conditions which need to be further fulfilled before a causal implication can be established.

The abstract states:

Although HuNoV RNA was not identified in stool samples from 248 dogs, serological evidence of previous exposure to HuNoV was obtained in 43/325 canine serum samples. Remarkably, canine seroprevalence to different HuNoV genotypes mirrored the seroprevalence in the human population. Though entry and replication within cells has not been demonstrated, the canine serological data indicates that dogs produce an immune response to HuNoV, implying productive infection. In conclusion this study reveals zoonotic implications for HuNoV, and to elucidate the significance of this finding, further epidemiological and molecular investigations will be essential.

Caddy SL, de Rougemont A, Emmott E, El-Attar L, Mitchell JA, Hollinshead M,Belliot G, Brownlie J, Le Pendu J, Goodfellow I. Evidence for human norovirusinfection of dogs in the UK. J Clin Microbiol. 2015 Apr 1. pii: JCM.02778-14.[Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25832298.

Norovirus Behind Outbreak on Cruise Ship

The passengers and crew on board the cruise ship “Legend of the Seas” were hit by a spate of gastrointestinal symptoms, manifesting as diarrhea and vomiting, caused by Norovirus. In the past few months the CDC has verified five cruise ship outbreaks, in four of which Norovirus was implicates as the causative organism. The cause of the fifth outbreak is yet to be confirmed.

A very contagious infection, Norovirus has emerged as one of the leading causes of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the US.