Under the Microscope


Fast Facts

  • Originally dubbed the “winter vomiting disease”, nicknamed “perfect pathogen”
  • Responsible for 58% of food-borne illnesses, while one third of the infections are in-person or via contact surfaces
  • The infectious dose is disproportionately tiny, 10-100 viral particles
  • Symptoms appears within 12 to 48 hours, shedding continues for weeks
  • Resistant to alcohol and high concentrations of bleach
  • EPIC iO AURA kill rate: without touching destroys 99.9 to 99.968% of Norovirus particles


Per the CDC “Norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting and diarrhea from acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) among people of all ages in the United States”.

Norovirus was dubbed the winter vomiting disease by a pediatrician in the early 1900s. Despite not being a household name, each year in the US alone this group of over 150 viruses sickens 19-21 million people, generates 2.2 million outpatient visits, another 465 thousand emergency room visits, over a hundred thousand hospitalizations, and nearly a thousand deaths.

It’s estimated that by the time someone lives 79 years they’ve likely had norovirus about five times. While death is rare, the chances increase with age and weakened immune systems as with more infections. With these staggering numbers, it’s not hard to believe that globally noroviruses add up to $65 billion per year.


It is incredibly contagious. Noroviruses are highly contagious with only 10-100 viral particles needed to be sufficient for infection (CDC). That handful of virus particles will wait in the environment for weeks or even longer due to their resistance to most cleaning products (Knowable Magazine). Because it transmits and survives so efficiently it acquired the distinct nick name “perfect pathogen”.

Noroviruses must be ingested. Transmission is most often (54%) from food contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. This is not as far-fetched as it may seem as demonstrated in this video (Vomiting Larry – A demonstration and explanation from his creator – YouTube) which simulates a vomiting episode, which shows how vomitus can cover 84 square feet. Another 26% of the incidents are from person to person infection, either by ingesting airborne viral particles, or by touching a contaminated surface. Carers, taked with cleaning up, are extremely exposed to the virus.

Cruise Ships and Floating Petri Dishes

Noroviruses are often, but unfairly, associated with cruise ships, probably due to the legal requirement to report all outbreaks to the CDC. However, over 62% infections originate in health-care settings.

Handwashing is considered the gold standard for preventing the spread of noroviruses, but it doesn’t kill them, it flushes them away which is why the duration of handwashing is critical.

EPIC iO and Noroviruses

With EPIC iO AURA, with ZERO touch, we kill 99.968%. The key point is that the device covers every square inch of the room, which as the video clearly shows, is completely contaminated. A typical patient care room is between 120-140 square feet, so 84 square feet represents up to 60% of the entire room.

Norovirus: The perfect pathogen (knowablemagazine.org)

Vomiting Larry – A demonstration and explanation from his creator – YouTube