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Facts About...

NOROVIRUSES


What is it?

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that causes gastrointestinal illness sometimes called the “stomach flu”. Noroviruses are a common cause of outbreaks in long-term care homes, hospitals, child care centres, schools, cruise ships and at banquets. This illness occurs most often in the fall and winter.

How is it spread?

Noroviruses are found in the stool and vomit of people with the illness. It can spread as soon as you start feeling sick, until at least 3 days after you feel better. Sometimes it can continue to spread for up to 2 weeks after you start feeling better and you can even get sick again.

There are many ways in which you can get sick, such as, touching someone who has it; eating foods or drinking drinks that have the virus in it; or touching something with the virus on it and then putting your hands into your mouth. These viruses can spread very easily and very fast.

What do I look for?

You may suddenly start to feel sick 1 to 2 days after the virus gets into you. Nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea and stomach cramps are common symptoms. You may also have a low grade fever, chills, headache and muscle aches. Although you may feel very sick and vomit many times a day, you will usually feel better in 1 to 3 days and without any serious health effect. Young people, older people and people with weak immune systems can become dehydrated more easily and may need special attention.

How is it treated?

There is no specific treatment for norovirus. Vaccines and antibiotics cannot prevent or treat it. If you are vomiting and have diarrhea, you should drink a lot of fluids. Fluids with water, sugar and salts (such as sport drinks) can help prevent dehydration.

How can I protect myself?

Additional precautions:

More information can be obtained from

Durham Region Health Department, Environmental Help Line 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613

September 20, 2017