Norovirus Summary

(From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.

Anyone can be infected with norovirus and get sick. Also, you can have norovirus illness many times in your life. Norovirus illness can be serious, especially for young children and older adults. Norovirus Has Many Names. You may hear norovirus illness called "food poisoning" or "stomach flu." Food poisoning can be caused by noroviruses. But, other germs and chemicals can also cause food poisoning.

Norovirus illness is not related to the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.

The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness.

Wash your hands carefully with soap and water —

  • especially after using the toilet or changing diapers
  • and always before eating, preparing, or handling food.

Noroviruses can be found in your vomit or stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better. So, it is important to continue washing your hands often during this time.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. But, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.

Norovirus Transmission Model

For additional information navigate to the CDC's page on the Norovirus.

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