Public Health Fact Sheet

What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.  Anyone can get infected and sick with Norovirus.

How is Norovirus spread?
There are multiple ways to get infected with Norovirus.  It can be spread by direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.   Foods commonly contaminated include raw shellfish, prepared green salads, frostings, deviled eggs, and prepared sandwiches.

How long after exposure until symptoms begin and how long is a person contagious?
Symptoms usually begin 12-48 hours after exposure.  Most people with Norovirus recover completely within 1-3 days.  An infected person is contagious to others while they are actively ill until 2-3 days after their symptoms have resolved.

How is Norovirus treated?
There is no specific treatment or cure for Norovirus.  Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration during periods of vomiting and diarrhea.  If dehydration occurs due to fluid loss from prolonged or extreme vomiting or diarrhea call a doctor.  Dehydration can be dangerous particularly in children.

How is Norovirus prevented?
Practice proper personal hygiene and hand washing.  Handle and prepare foods safely.  When you are sick, do not prepare food for or care for others.  Carefully clean and disinfect surfaces after someone vomits or has diarrhea.  Keep food safe from Norovirus by routinely cleaning kitchen surfaces and utensils.  Wash contaminated laundry thoroughly after someone vomits or has diarrhea. 

Additional information is available on the CDC website at

Symptoms of Norovirus
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping and pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache

February 2020