Noroviruses, a group of viruses that cause inflammation of the stomach and large intestine, are the leading cause of gastroenteritis (stomach flu) and foodborne disease outbreaks in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Norovirus results in 19-21 million illnesses, 56-71,000 hospitalizations, and 570-800 deaths each year.
Norovirus is highly contagious and typically spread through food or water that’s been contaminated by fecal matter during preparation. You can also catch the illness via close contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces.
You may have norovirus if you’re experiencing these signs and symptoms:
Symptoms normally begin 24-48 hours after exposure and usually last one to three days. Keep in mind that some people with norovirus show no signs or symptoms but are still contagious and may spread it to others.
Diagnosis of norovirus is usually based on your symptoms. However, it can be diagnosed by testing a stool sample.
There’s no medication for norovirus. It’s a viral infection, so it can’t be treated with antibiotics. If you have norovirus, drink plenty of fluids to replace lost fluid from diarrhea/throwing up and prevent dehydration.
For most people, norovirus goes away within a few days. Recovery time is dependent on the health of an infected person’s immune system. If diarrhea persists and doesn’t go away after several days and/or if you have severe vomiting, abdominal pain or bloody stools, call your doctor for medical attention.
Support and engage people directly impacted by foodborne illness and mobilize them to help prevent illness and death by driving change through advocacy, collaboration and innovation.