How common is norovirus infection?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least half of all food-borne outbreaks of gastroenteritis can be attributed to noroviruses. Some studies indicate that more than 60 percent of the U.S. population is exposed to one or more of these viruses by the age of 50. Noroviruses are highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person.

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1. What are noroviruses?
2. What are the symptoms of noroviruses?
3. How common is norovirus infection?
4. How do people come in contact with these viruses?
5. How can these infections be prevented?