• Stomach Virus/Norovirus


    Norovirus is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus.

    It is often called by other names such as a stomach flu, food

    poisoning and viral gastroenteritis (GAS-tro-en-ter-I-tis).

    Noroviruses are found in the stool and vomit of infected


    Anyone can be infected with noroviruses and get sick. You

    can get infected with norovirus more than once in your life.

    One reason for this is because there are different types of

    noroviruses and being infected with one type does not always

    protect against infection from another type.

    The illness begins suddenly and people with norovirus are

    contagious from the moment they begin to feel sick and for as

    long as 2 weeks after recovery. Symptoms include stomach

    cramps, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Some people may

    also experience low-grade fever, chills, headache, body aches

    and fatigue. Those infected with norovirus are most

    contagious fro the moment they begin to feel sick to as long as

    two weeks after recovery. The virus stays in the stool for 2

    weeks or more after the infected person feels better. Most

    people get better within 1-3 days. Dehydration can be a

    problem for people who are infected with nororvirus. It is

    important to drink liquids to replace fluid lost when vomiting

    or diarrhea.

    Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in

    the US. It is estimated that each year, more than 20 million

    cases of gastroenteritis are caused by norovirus. That means

    that 1 in every 15 Americans will become ill from norovirus

    each year. In New Jersey, approximately 100 norovirus

    outbreaks are reported to the health department each fallwinter


    A sick food handler can easily contaminate the food he or she is handling.

    Many of

    those eating the contaminated food may become ill and an outbreak may result.

    Noroviruses can spread quickly from person to person in crowded, closed places

    like long-term care facilities, daycare centers, schools, hotels, summer camps,

    hospitals, family dinners, restaurants, and cruise ships. In other words, places

    where people often eat food that is prepared or handled by others.

    New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services

    Communicable Disease Service

    PO Box 369, Trenton, NJ 08625


    Noroviruses can also be a major cause of gastroenteritis in restaurants and

    catered-meal settings

    if contaminated food is served and is a leading cause of disease from

    contaminated foods.