Public Health Alert: Norovirus

Noroviruses are a group of related viruses that affect the intestinal tract causing gastroenteritis illness. The viruses are present in the feces of infected persons and can be transmitted to others when hands are not thoroughly washed after having a bowel movement. When an infected person who did not wash hands after toileting handles food that is not later cooked, others who eat the food can become infected.

hand washingMany of the noroviruses cause similar symptoms that usually occur between 24 hours and 48 hours after exposure. They include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, body aches, headache, tiredness and low-grade fever. Symptoms typically last 24 hours to 60 hours and subside on their own. There are no known long-term effects after recovery from this infection.

Norovirus can be easily prevented by frequently washing your hands, especially after toileting or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food. Strict compliance with good hygiene practices is important to prevent the spread of norovirus.

For more information, download the Illinois Department of Health, Health Beat Flyer (pdf) or visit the Illinois Department of Health website at

Para español: Illinois Department of Health, Health Beat Flyer en Español (pdf)


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