Help stop the spread of norovirus

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is seeing an increase in gastrointestinal illness, likely due to norovirus in child care centres and in the community.

Norovirus is present in the stool and vomit of those infected. It is spread primarily through person-to-person contact, or contamination of food prepared by a person who is currently ill or has been recently ill and did not wash their hands properly. Symptoms of a norovirus infection come on quickly and can include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, body aches, and sometimes fever. People typically become ill 24 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus, and symptoms usually last from one to two days. People should also remember that they can continue to spread the virus for up to several days after the symptoms stop.

Although there is no specific treatment for norovirus, drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is recommended.

“Anyone who has symptoms should stay away from vulnerable people and places such as hospitals, long-term care homes, and child care centres for at least 48 hours after symptoms stop, to avoid spreading the virus,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health. “Hospital patients and long-term care home residents are particularly at risk due to their potentially weakened immune systems.”

Follow these precautions to help prevent becoming sick with, or spreading norovirus:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom, before eating or preparing food, as well as prior to having any contact with older adults, children, people who are ill and other vulnerable persons.
  • 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 two days after your symptoms stop.
  • Carefully clean up vomit and feces, wash or discard anything that was contaminated with vomit or feces, and disinfect all surfaces with a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water (30 ml (1 ounce) of bleach in 266 ml (9 ounces) of water).
  • Clean and disinfect washrooms and all surfaces that people frequently touch at least once per day with a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water if there is someone ill in your home.

Learn more about norovirus and the importance of handwashing by visiting www.phsd.ca or calling Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on December 17, 2018