Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastrointestinal (stomach) illness in people. These viruses are very contagious and can spread very easily from person to person. Anyone can get infected with noroviruses and can have the illness caused by noroviruses multiple times in their lifetime.
The symptoms of norovirus illness usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Sometimes people have low-grade fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, and feel very tired. The illness often begins suddenly, but is usually brief, with symptoms lasting one to two days.
Norovirus infection does not usually cause serious illness, although people may feel very ill and vomit many times a day. Most people will feel better within one to two days and have no long-term health effects.
However, sometimes people are unable to drink enough fluids to replace what is lost from vomiting and diarrhea. They can become dehydrated and may need special medical attention. Dehydration is more commonly seen among the very young, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. People can become infected by:
People who work in childcare centers, long-term care or healthcare facilities should pay special attention to clients and staff who have gastrointestinal symptoms. Cleaning and
hand washing are highly recommended because norovirus illness is very contagious
Symptoms of norovirus illness usually begin within 24 to 48 hours after ingesting the viruses, but they can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.
People who have norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least three days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as two weeks after recovery.
It is very important for people to practice good hand washing while ill and after they have recovered from any diarrheal illness.
Currently, there is no medication that cures norovirus illness and there is no vaccine to prevent it. Noroviruses cannot be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. The best treatment for those infected with noroviruses is rest and plenty of fluids.
Yes. Prevention includes:
Persons who are infected with noroviruses should not prepare or serve food while they have symptoms and for three days after they recover from their illness. Food that may have been contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of. Food service, childcare and healthcare workers who have norovirus illness should not go to work for 72 hours after recovery.
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