For more general information, see our Norovirus page.
You may hear it called the "stomach flu." Norovirus is a very contagious viral illness. It often spreads from person to person in crowded places. It also spreads through contaminated food and surfaces.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever. They appear 12 to 36 hours after exposure. They often go away within a few days. Many people are contagious before they show symptoms. The virus can stay in feces for several weeks. Most people will get it several times in their life.
Help prevent it.
Pregnant women, children, elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. Take time to educate high-risk people about food safety. Tell them to prevent illness by washing their hands and properly handling, cooking and storing food.
Tell high-risk people to never consume unpasteurized milk, cheese or juice; raw meat, fish or shellfish; or blue-veined or fresh soft cheese.
Encourage people to stay home when they’re sick. Especially if they work with high-risk patients or food.
If you have a person with norovirus symptoms, ask them to:
- Provide a stool sample to identify the cause.
- Report it—on our Foodborne Illness page or call (253) 798-4712.
- Report stool sample results—fax (253) 798-6539 or call (253) 798-4712.
This information helps us identify causes and prevent future illness.
Report more than 1 suspected case of norovirus.
If your school, childcare center, nursing home or healthcare facility has more than 1 suspected case of norovirus:
- Report it on our Notifiable Conditions page or call (253) 798-6534.
For schools and childcare centers
- Control norovirus—tips to prevent the spread of norovirus.
- Clean and disinfect safely—instructions to clean up vomit or stool.
- Parent letters—view them in English or Spanish.
- Sample school newsletter article.
For healthcare providers
- Gastroenteritis outbreak—illness control tools for congregate care and healthcare facilities.
- CDC norovirus page for healthcare providers—disease, diagnosis and treatment information.