What is norovirus?
Norovirus is a virus that commonly causes vomiting and diarrhea in people of all age groups.
What are the symptoms of norovirus?
Norovirus symptoms have a sudden onset and may include:
- watery diarrhea
The illness usually begins within 24 to 48 hours after infection and symptoms often last 24 to 48 hours. Norovirus is frequently associated with outbreaks in long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares and schools.
How is norovirus spread?
Norovirus is present in the stool and vomit of individuals who are infected. It is spread primarily through person-to-person contact, or contamination of food prepared by a person who is ill or has been ill recently and did not wash their hands properly. The virus is very contagious and only a few particles are needed to cause illness.
Contaminated water is the most common source of norovirus outbreaks outside of institutions. Shellfish and salad ingredients are the food items most often implicated in norovirus outbreaks.
How is norovirus treated?
There is no specific treatment for norovirus. Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is recommended.
How do you prevent norovirus?
- Wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, as well as prior to entering and leaving a long-term care home, hospital, or daycare.
- Do not handle or prepare food for anyone if you are ill.
- Do not visit anyone in a hospital or long-term care home if you are ill.
- Stay home if you are ill and for a minimum of 48 hours after symptoms stop.
- Carefully clean up vomit and feces, wash or discard anything that was contaminated with vomit or feces, and disinfect all surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect washrooms and all common hand contact surfaces at least once per day with a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water (i.e. 1 ounce of bleach in 9 ounces of water) if there is someone ill in your home.
- Thoroughly cook shellfish prior to eating.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.