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Noroviruses (genus Norovirus, family Caliciviridae) are a group of related, single-stranded RNA, nonenveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. Norovirus was recently approved as the official genus name for the group of viruses provisionally described as “Norwalk-like viruses” (NLV). This group of viruses has also been referred to as caliciviruses (because of their virus family name) and as small round structured viruses, or SRSVs (because of their morphologic features). Another genus of the calicivirus family that can cause gastroenteritis in humans is Sapovirus, formerly described as “Sapporo-like virus” (SLV) and sometimes referred to as classic or typical calicivirus.
Noroviruses are named after the original strain “Norwalk virus,” which caused an outbreak of gastroenteritis in a school in Norwalk, Ohio, in 1968. Currently, there are at least five norovirus genogroups (GI, GII, GIII, GIV and GV), which in turn are divided into at least 31 genetic clusters.