Norovirus is a very contagious virus sometimes mistakenly called stomach flu. It is also one possible cause of food poisoning.

Spreading Norovirus

You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting because your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis).

Norovirus spreads easily and rapidly, especially in schools, child care settings, and assisted living facilities

The Snohomish Health District follows up on cases of gastrointestinal illnesses like norovirus when they might be part of a larger outbreak. If you think you got sick after eating in a restaurant or from well water or another water supply, please contact us. We also send out letters to notify parents in the case of outbreaks in schools and child care settings.

Norovirus Symptoms

  • Chills
  • Diarrhea and stomach cramps
  • Headaches
  • Low-grade fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Sudden onset of illness, usually 24 to 48 hours after exposure
  • Symptoms lasting for 1 to 2 days
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting and nausea

The virus can be serious, especially for young children or older adults.

Preventing the Spread of Norovirus

There are no specific drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent norovirus. Taking the following precautions will help prevent the spread of the infection:

  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces with a solution of bleach and water
  • Don't prepare food for others while sick, you can easily spread the virus
  • Keep children with symptoms home from school or childcare and notify your child care provider of the illness
  • Take care in the kitchen, including washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly
  • Wash all clothes and linens soiled by vomit or fecal matter immediately
  • Wash hands after using the bathroom