Definition – What is Sapovirus?

The Sapovirus was previously referred to as the Sapporo-like virus (SLV). Then again, there are doctors and scientists who refer to it as the classical calicivirus that triggers a severe gastroenteritis (stomach flu).

On its own, the Sapovirus is not a life-threatening virus. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), the virus triggers a mild form of stomach flu in human beings. While the virus tends to affect people of all ages, it is quite prevalent in children.

male torso, pain in the abdomenNonetheless, when the virus combines with another form of virus commonly referred to as norovirus, it can trigger intense viral gastroenteritis in grownups. Likewise, when the Sapovirus combines with another form of virus commonly referred to as the rotavirus, they can trigger life-threatening stomach flu in children that are aged less than 5 years.

The CDC states that there is no particular time frame in regards to when the Sapovirus can break. Outbreaks can occur at any given time. However, there are medical studies which indicate that the virus is more common during autumn and winter months, which is, between September and January. During this period, it is crucial that you look after the well-being of your children.


Sapovirus Incubation Period

As pointed out earlier, the Sapovirus on its own is not a life-threatening disease. However, when it merges with other types of viruses like rotavirus and norovirus it can cause a severe form of stomach flu, which is also commonly referred to as gastroenteritis in both adults and children. Therefore, the incubation period may differ depending on which type of virus the Sapovirus has merged with.

Incubation period when sapovirus combines with norovirus

When sapovirus merges with norovirus, the incubation period may range from 1-3 days. The incubation period in this context refer to the time the virus stays dormant in the body prior to the manifestation of the symptoms. During the incubation period, the patient is not able to transmit the disease. However, spread of infection can occur from the time the symptoms are manifested to 2 weeks after the infection has been cured.

Incubation period when the sapovirus merges with rotavirus

According to the CDC, rotavirus is the primary cause of diarrhea in children. Unlike norovirus, the virus is quite contagious during the incubation period and 2 weeks following treatment. The incubation period for rotavirus may differ from 1-2 days. Since the immune system in children is still developing, they tend to be more contagious compared to adults.

Signs and Symptoms of Sapovirus

There are numerous symptoms that a patient may display when suffering from Sapovirus. Whereas intestinal pain, dehydration and vomiting are some of the common symptoms linked to the Sapovirus, it is important to point out that the symptoms may differ from one patient to the other depending on which virus the Sapovirus has merged with.

Diarrhea SymptomsBefore a patient is diagnosed with stomach virus, he/she may experience diarrhea, nausea, fever, vomiting, muscle aches and chills. Whereas there is no cure to date for stomach flu, there is treatment for the symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe fluids so as to prevent dehydration during the course of the illness. Because of the gastrointestinal pains, patients are usually advised to eat semi-solid foods during the recovery stage.

The saying, “prevention is better than cure” is not in vain when it comes to Sapovirus. In order to deter a possible outbreak of stomach flu it is essential that you observe good hygiene. Ensure that your hands are washed with soap and water prior to handling food and eating. Encourage your children to wash their hands using antiseptic soap after visiting the toilet. You should also make a habit of washing your hands after changing your baby’s diapers. Since you may find it difficult to leave your child unattended after a change of diaper in order to wash your hands, ensure that you have a hand sanitizer close to you at all times.

Since stomach infection can easily spread from one individual to the other through sharing of utensils and close contact, it is essential that you maintain high levels of cleanliness and hygiene not only during the incubation period, but after treatment. Note that, infection can still occur 2-3 weeks after treatment.


Sapovirus Transmission

Listed below are ways through which the virus can be transmitted from one person to the other:

  • Fecal matter: Failing to wash your hands after visiting the toilet or after changing a baby’s diaper can cause spread of infection.
  • Eating: Consuming foods that have been contaminated can also cause the virus to spread from one person to the other.

Cure and Prevention

There is no cure for the Sapovirus. However, there are medications that can be used to manage the symptoms. Then again, the best form of treatment is prevention. As a parent, you need to put in place structures that will curb the spread of the virus within your household. Listed below are tips on how to prevent the virus from spreading:

  • Wash your hands after visiting the toilet and changing a baby’s diapers.
  • Wash your hands before eating and preparing food.
  • Wash your clothes and bed sheets on a regular basis.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be washed properly before eating.

In addition to the above, you need to make a point of disinfecting areas where the virus might have occurred. For example, if an infected child vomited in an area, the place should be cleaned using a disinfectant. Adults and children who are infected with the virus or tend to display symptoms of stomach flu ought to be quarantined. As such, they should be prevented from preparing or handling food that are to be eaten by other people until they have shown full recovery.

The instant you have noted a member of your family displaying the symptoms listed above, take them to a doctor for diagnosis. Early treatment can be effective when it comes to curbing the spread of the disease during the incubation period.


  1. Juli Ackerman

    i have just been diagnosed through stool culture to have sapovirus. Curiously, I have been sick with this since 12/30/15, for a total of six weeks now. Family members had this stomach flu at the same time, for it’s usual duration and severity 1-4 days total. By mid January I was going to doctors in search of answers. I am a 49yr. old female and being treated successfully for the auto immune diseases Lupus and Hashimotos. For the most part, prior to 12/30/16,I had never had bowel or gastro issues except for irregular constipation. My physician says the only thing I tested positive was the sapovirus ,which usually lasts 72 hours. Before the results came back, she treated me for 10 days with Flagyl. It did nothing. She is confused as to it’s unusual 6 week duration and says it may be due to my Lupus and that it just has to run it’s course, and to continue with all of the same treatments of the past six weeks, probiotics, Immodium, fluids, etc. I am drained. I’m a thin woman and eat only once a day now to avoid the discomfort of cramps ,gas, bile and urgency that comes with eating. Its so bad, it’s multiple times a day, and now, a little comes out every time I sit to urinate. Everyone around me that also had this has been rid of it for over a month. In the past week, I’ve soiled myself 4 times just standing and talking to someone. I would appreciate ANY sound advise or ideas to cure this or recommend to my Dr., and wondered if anyone knows how and why it has remained for so long? Will I ever be well again? Why won’t it die? Can the duration cause other issues, ie.gall bladder, pancreas, kidneys. my recent creatinine levels are above normal, which a year ago had previously proven to be stones,which were removed, but an ultrasound last week shows no new stones. So why elevated creatinine of 60? Any helpful comments?

    1. Julia

      Juli are you still having symptoms
      My 9 year old got dx with this and has been suffering for weeks 6 now- she has been hospitalized twice and like you is immunocompromizes because of a kidney transplant she had 2 years ago. I am worried that there is something more going on and she too his now hardly eating and is afraid to eat because of her stomach pains, lost 12lbs and I am just wondering if you are better and how long it took?

    2. Charlotte Johnson

      I am going thru this right now and it does last longer. I am a 68 year old and I also have other medical problems, but I dont like being dehydrated this long because I have Stage 3 kidney disease.

  2. Jennifer

    My household just got this and is recovering. My 18 month old was hospitalized… I remember a heartburn feeling right before all hell broke loose. As for pains, still having that. It’s horrible.

  3. Barbara Hoover

    I was just diagnosed with sapovirus today after being sick for about a month. I have Lupus and that seems to make any sickness I have even harder and longer to diagnose. I was given medication to treat the nausea and diarrhea, feeling so much better in just hour since starting the medication

    1. Trish

      Hi Barbara, I have had the sapovirus for one month now and have been hospitalized on a continual drip for fluids for the last week. I don’t seem to be getting much better and wondered what was the medication given to you for nausea and diarrhea?

      1. Charlotte Johnson

        Yes. I wasnt given any medication.Was sent home with diarrhea then and told to come back if I get diarrhea. What? The diarrhea continues. SMH.

  4. Heather Leadingfox

    M 2 y old daughter was just diagnosed with this and my precious baby has been suffering since November. And she has stopped eating and has lost almost a pound in 2 days. Im worried about her organs. I don’t know what to expect. Should I be extremely worried? Her peds Dr said to push fluids an yogut. Any knowledge of this in toddlers would greatly appreciated.

  5. Carolyn

    A girl in my class had it, she stopped vomiting on Sunday and it is now Wednesday are you still able to catch it from her?

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