Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S.
Norovirus are group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis in people. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines, causing an acute onset of severe vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus illness is usually brief in people who are otherwise healthy. Children, the sick and the elderly are at risk for more severe infections. Symptons include low-grade fevers, chills, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue. Norovirus is extremely contagious. Anyone can get norovirus. People may infect others from the time they start feeling ill until at least three days after they recover.
Norovirus is present in the vomit and feces of infected people. There are presently no vaccines to prevent infections and no antiviral medicines available to treat a norovirus infection. You cannot treat norovirus with antibiotics.
When a worker or patron vomits in a public area, the vomit should be treated as potentially infectious material. The goal is to control the spread of norovirus by preventing an outbreak.
|Contagious and spreads quickly||Rapid person-to-person outbreaks can easily occur by touching or eating something handled by an infected person|
|Contamination||Virus from vomit or feces can contaminate hard surfaces, resulting in new infections occuring for several weeks|
|Airborne virus||Because the virus is very small, when an infected person vomits, the virus can be expelled into the air when the the vomitus lands on a surface|
|Higly potent virus||One vomiting event can contaminate the environment with 300,000 viral particles and fewer than 20 virus particles can cause an infection|
|Controlling the spread is the key||The entire room or area should be cleaned and disinfected before it is used again|
|Leading cause of foodborne illness||The CDC reported that about 21 million cases of norovirus occur each year in the U.S. and that it’s responsible for more than half of foodborne illness|
|Symptoms||Norovirus infection is characterized by nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal paid, and in some cases, loss of taste|
|Outbreaks||Outbreaks of norovirus infection often occur in closed or semi-closed communities, such as restaurants, long-term care facilities, overnight camps, hospitals, schools, prisons, dormitories and cruise ships|
|Controlling Norovirus||When a contamination event occurs, first responders should work quickly to properly clean the area and disinfect the entire area in order to prevent spread|