norovirus prevention

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

It is the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the US.

The loss of fluids from vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, especially among more vulnerable people.

Every year in the US:

  • About 1 out of 15 people contract norovirus
  • More than 70,000 people are hospitalized due to norovirus
  • Around 600-800 people die from norovirus



How does it spread?

  • Norovirus is transmitted when an infected person doesn’t wash their hands properly and comes in contact with others.
  • The virus is shed in stool and vomit; so if an infected person doesn’t wash their hands after being ill or using the toilet they can easily spread it to other people.
  • Norovirus can live on surfaces for up to two weeks. A person can contract norovirus by touching a contaminated surface (such as a doorknob or light switch) and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.

How is it treated?

  • There is no treatment or vaccine for norovirus, so prevention is key.
  • It is important to drink plenty of fluids, including oral rehydration fluids, to prevent dehydration.
  • Most people with norovirus get better in 1-3 days

Prevent Norovirus by washing your handsHow to prevent Norovirus infection?

  • Wash your hands—do not use alcohol based hand sanitizers as they are not effective against norovirus.
  • Stay home when you are sick and return to work only when you have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours. Food handlers, childcare workers, and healthcare workers should stay home for 72 hours after symptoms resolve.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
  • Separate contaminated clothing/linens when washing.
  • Wear gloves while cleaning bodily fluids and doing laundry.

Quick cleaning tips:

  • Disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution—use 1/3 cup bleach per gallon of water.
  • Do NOT use green cleaners, as they do not kill norovirus.
  • NEVER use a wetvac to clean up vomit or bodily fluids—the wetvac spreads contaminants.
  • Wear gloves

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