Norovirus. That nasty little bug most commonly associated with cruise ship outbreaks is quite costly, in medical, economic and societal terms.


Norovirus kills 200,000 globally annually, while Bartsch et al estimate the annual global economic burden of norovirus at over $60 billion dollars; $4.2b of which comes in direct health systems cost, and $56.1b in societal costs.

Bruce Y. Lee, MD, an Associate Professor of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health wrote Tuesday on PLoS collections, “$60 billion. That’s what norovirus is estimated to cost our world each year based on the computational simulation model study published in PLOS ONE. That’s $15 billion more than the insurance payouts for Hurricane Katrina, $40 billion more than the estimated costs of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and $20 billion more than the 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake.

“That’s over sixty Airbus A380 airplanes, one of the largest passenger airplanes in the world. That’s enough to buy the Chicago Cubs baseball team, the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team, the AC Milan football team, AND the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and then maybe fifty other similar sports teams. That’s also over 10.7 trillion pounds of Green Apple Jelly Beans. Remember that is every single year. So over three years that’s over 32 trillion pounds of jelly beans. Have we got your attention yet?”

The costs–societal and economic- are staggering and beckon for the development of a much-needed vaccine.

Read more about norovirus at PLoS Collections