Norovirus (Norwalk-like virus)
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What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis). It is an illness that usually includes diarrhea and vomiting. You may have a norovirus sickness many times in your life because there are different types of noroviruses. Norovirus can spread quickly in a facility like a nursing home, retirement homes, daycares schools and cruise ships.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of the Norovirus are often seen 1 to 2 days after being exposed to someone with the virus and include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Watery diarrhea and abdominal cramps
- Low-grade fever
How is it spread?
Norovirus can be spread from an infected person through:
- Person-to-person by a fecal-oral route (e.g., unwashed hands)
- Swallowing contaminated food or water.
- By touching contaminated hands or objects (e.g., door handle or toys).
How is it prevented?
- Practice proper hand hygiene.
- Handle foods safely. It’s important to wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly.
- When you are sick, do not prepare food for others especially if you work as a food handler.
- When you are sick, do not care for others especially if you are a healthcare or daycare worker.
- Increase cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Surfaces or high-touch areas may be sanitized using a simple bleach solution you can make at home. The solution is made with 1000 ml (4 cups) of water to 20 ml (4 tsp) of unscented bleach.
- Wash laundry that may be contaminated with vomiting or stool (poop). Be careful when handling soiled laundry and wash your hands immediately afterward.
- Stay home when you are feeling sick with Norovirus-like symptoms.
How long is it contagious?
Norovirus is contagious for as long as a person has symptoms of the illness and may continue for 2 to 3 weeks after symptoms have resolved.
Should I see a healthcare provider?
We recommend you see a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or get worse. Try to prevent dehydration.
Norovirus is not a reportable infection unless it is part of a gastroenteritis outbreak within a facility (Example: nursing home).
If you have questions or concerns, you can call and speak to our Outbreak team at 519-258-2146 ext. 1444.