Salt Lake CountyFind It
Health banner image

Health Department

Bureau of Epidemiology

Norovirus Fact Sheet

(Norwalk and Norwalk-like Virus)

Who gets Norovirus?

Norovirus (also known as Norwalk and Norwalk-like virus) is

  • A viral infection
  • A common cause of diarrhea and vomiting sickness in the United States.

Who gets Norovirus infection?

  • Any person of any age group can become infected
  • It occurs mainly in humans and is found in every part of the world.
  • There are many strains of norovirus that makes it hard for the body to develop immunity to the virus.

How is Norovirus spread?

Norovirus is spread by:

  • Infected people
  • Contaminated food and water.
  • The virus is found in stool and vomit.

You may get norovirus if you:

  • Eat food or drink liquids that have been contaminated with Norovirus,
  • Touch surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then place your hands in your mouth, or
  • Have direct contact with another person who has the virus and has diarrhea or is vomiting.

What are the symptoms?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Non-bloody diarrhea stomach cramps
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever may also occur.
  • How soon after exposure do symptoms usually appear?
  • Most people will begin to have symptoms within 1 to 2 days
  • Some people may become ill as early as 10 hours or as late as 3 days.

How long do symptoms last?

  • Persons with norovirus usually recover within 2 to 3 days without serious or long-term health effects.
  • Even though the virus is easy to spread, serious illness rarely occurs.

What is the treatment?

  • No specific treatment is available.
  • Drink plenty of clear fluids.
  • Rarely, people may become sick enough to go to the hospital.
  • There is no vaccine available.
  • Antibiotics should not be used.
  • If I get it once, will I get it again?
  • Norovirus infection only gives you short-term immunity.
  • A person may get sick each time he/she comes in contact with the virus.

How can norovirus be prevented?

Here are ways to reduce your risk of getting or spreading the virus:

  • Wash hands thoroughly after each toilet visit and before preparing food.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook Shellfish such as oysters and clams before eating them.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Remove and wash clothing or linens that are soiled with stool or vomit.
  • Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.

Where can I get more information?

Or Visit these links:

Recreational and Drinking Waterborne Disease Prevention (47 KB)

Hand washing/hygiene education information

Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of Norovirus (203 KB)