Category: Health News

Washington, DC - Norovirus is a germ that spreads quickly and easily. It causes vomiting and diarrhea that come on suddenly. Millions of people get ill with norovirus each year. You can help protect yourself and others by washing your hands often and following simple tips to stay healthy.

Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that can cause inflammation of the stomach or intestines, also known as gastroenteritis (GAS-tro-en-ter-I-tis). This leads to cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Norovirus Is the Most Common Cause of Gastroenteritis in the U.S.

CDC estimates that each year in the United States norovirus causes 19 to 21 million illnesses, 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations, and 570 to 800 deaths. Anyone can get infected with norovirus, and you can get it more than once. It is estimated that a person will get norovirus about 5 times during their lifetime. Norovirus outbreaks occur throughout the year. But, over 80% of reported outbreaks occur from November to April. Learn more about U.S. Trends and Outbreaks.

Norovirus Symptoms

Common symptoms:

Less common symptoms:

Norovirus spreads quickly. It is found in the vomit and poop of infected people. You can get it by:

People with norovirus illness are most contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill and for the first few days after they recover. Some people may be contagious for even longer.

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent norovirus infection or drug to treat sick people. Learn how to protect yourself and others by following a few simple steps.

Protect Yourself and Others from Norovirus

Common Norovirus Outbreak Settings

Norovirus spreads quickly from person to person in enclosed places like nursing homes, daycare centers, schools, and cruise ships. It is also a major cause of outbreaks in restaurants and catered-meal settings if contaminated food is served or people handing food are ill.

Many Names, Same Symptoms

You may hear norovirus illness called “food poisoning” or “stomach flu.” Norovirus can cause foodborne illness, as can other germs and chemicals.
Norovirus illness is not related to the flu (influenza). Though they may share some of the same symptoms, the flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza virus.

Most people with norovirus illness get better in 1 to 3 days. But it can be more serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions. It can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and even death.