Norovirus is the
most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the U.S. Each year, it
causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations
and 800 deaths. It is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks
in the United States.
The best way to
help prevent the spread of the illness is to practice proper hand washing and
general cleanliness. Most people with norovirus illness get better within one
to three days.
Norovirus can be
found in your stool (feces) even before you start feeling sick. The virus can
stay in your stool for two weeks or more after you feel better. You are most
contagious when you are sick with norovirus illness, and during the first three
days after you recover from illness.
You can become
infected with norovirus by eating food or drinking liquids that are
contaminated, touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then putting your
fingers in your mouth, or having contact with someone who is infected (for
example, caring for or sharing food or eating utensils with someone with
outbreaks happen from November to April in the U.S. It is also a
leading cause of illness from contaminated food in the U.S. Foods commonly
involved in outbreaks are leafy greens, fresh fruits, and shellfish. Any food
served raw or handled after being cooked can get contaminated, however.
For more information,
contact health services at ext. 3806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Information from the Centers for Disease