Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause inflammation of the stomach and the small and large intestines.


Symptoms of illness from a norovirus usually begin 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus and tends to include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping that may last 1 to 2 days.


Noroviruses are very contagious and can be spread by eating contaminated food or drinks, by placing hands in your mouth after touching contaminated objects, and by having direct contact such as sharing a utensil with someone infected and showing symptoms.


To decrease your chance of coming in contact with a norovirus, Madison County Health Department recommends frequent, vigorous hand washing with soap and water especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating foods. Oysters should be steamed and fruits and vegetables should be carefully washed before eating.

After an illness episode all contaminated surfaces should be immediately cleaned and disinfected using bleach based household cleaner. Soiled linens and clothing contaminated with the virus after an episode should be washed with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and machine dried. Vomit and diarrhea in the toilet should be flushed immediately and the surrounding area kept clean.