Are You More Likely to Get Sick with The Stomach Flu Than the General Population?

Are You More Likely to Get Sick with The Stomach Flu Than the General Population?According to the latest body of research, some people are more likely to fall ill after exposure to gastroenteritis than other people. In fact, some people never get infected with the stomach flu, no matter how much they are exposed to the virus. It is estimated that 20% of all Europeans are resistant to the virus. It all boils down to genetics. Did your parents pass down flu-resistant genes or do you get the stomach flu every year?

If you are out with 2 of your friends and you all encounter norovirus, 1 of 3 things can occur. 1) You don’t get sick at all, 2) you become ill with symptoms and are contagious, or 3) you don’t have any symptoms but you can still spread Norovirus to others through contact. But how and why?

One study found that blood type can influence your susceptibility to developing viral gastroenteritis. Researchers infected (brave) volunteers with Norowalk virus, they then waited to see how many became ill. Out of 50 volunteers, 40 (82%) were contagious and physically ill from the virus, 68% were symptomatic and 32% were asymptomatic. Asymptomatic means someone is a carrier of the virus and can make others ill, but they do not experience any symptoms. 10 participants were not contagious and experienced no symptoms of Norovirus.

Researchers dug deep to uncover what makes some people more likely to develop Norowalk virus than others. You might be thinking the answer is simple, that certain participants already developed natural immunities to the strain of Norowalk used in the study. Yet, researchers reported that, “the proportion of subjects infected was similar for those with and without preexisting antibody (82% vs. 60%; P > .2).”

Researchers identified 3 reasons some people are more likely to get sick from the stomach flu than others.

#1. Your Blood Type May Impact Your Susceptibility to The Stomach Flu

Researchers found that blood type plays a role in your susceptibility to Norovirus. People with 0-type blood were more likely to get sick and experienced the worst symptoms. B and AB blood types were at the lowest risk of getting sick after exposure to Norovirus. Those with B and AB blood types that did become infected were more likely to be asymptomatic. Furthermore, researchers found that people with blood type A are the least likely to develop the stomach flu in the first place.

#2. Are You One of the “Non-secretors”?

Researchers have also determined that GII noroviruses rarely make people sick if the person is a “non-secretor.” Someone considered a “non-secretor” has a gene mutation known as FUT2, which causes them to not express ABO blood group antigens through their gastrointestinal tract or saliva. Since these individuals do not have antigens within their intestinal tract, they are far less likely to be infected with norovirus.

#3. Your Gut Bacteria is Important

Another crucial factor researchers identified is the type of bacteria that live in your gut. Certain types of bacteria express the same ABO antigens as we do, including your gut bacteria. Researchers found that certain types of “good” bacteria helped norovirus attack cells and make the host sicker.

You can read the full study here:

How to Help Prevent Getting Sick

While some lucky people are immune to many strains of the stomach flu, no one is 100% immune from getting sick.  Most of us are not immune to norovirus at all, and so we need to do everything we can to prevent infection and spreading infection to others. For starters, always wash your hands before eating or touching your face. Secondly, use products proven to kill norovirus around your home, especially if someone under your roof is currently sick with the stomach flu.

How to Find Out If You’re Resistant to the Stomach Flu

DNA tests can reveal if you are resistant to norovirus or not. We proudly offer fast, affordable, and reliable DNA testing in the comfort of a medical setting. Your results can reveal so much about you, including if you’re immune to norovirus or not. Give us a call or visit us to learn more and get your DNA tested as soon as today.

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