Norovirus is highly infectious and spreads easily from person to person. Both faeces (‘poos’) and vomit are infectious, and the virus can survive on contaminated surfaces even after cleaning with some disinfectants.
People with norovirus are infectious for at least 3 days after the symptoms stop and on some occasions for up to 2 weeks.
How is it spread?
Norovirus can be spread in many ways:
- consuming contaminated food or drinks
- touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then putting your fingers in your mouth
- having direct contact with an infected person (eg, by sharing food or eating from the same plate or cutlery)
- through the air (when vomiting sends tiny particles into the air).
What are the Symptoms?
If you or a family member has been exposed to norovirus, you will most likely get sick within 1–2 days. The symptoms usually last for 2 days.
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Stomach cramps
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle aches
What is the Treatment?
There is no specific treatment or vaccination for norovirus. Dehydration is the main cause of serious illness.
- Drink plenty of fluids such as plain water and oral rehydration drinks.
- Don’t take medicine to stop vomiting or diarrhoea (unless your doctor tells you to) as these will stop your body getting rid of the virus.
How can you prevent it Spreading?
These steps can help stop the virus spreading.
- Don’t go to school, early childhood centre or work until well and for 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
- Don’t prepare or handle food until 2 to 3 days after illness has resolved.
- Immediately remove and wash any contaminated clothes and bedding using detergent and hot water.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based disinfectant.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry.
- NOTE: Hand Sanitser does NOT kill Norovirus. Only Soap and water will kill it.