Norovirus Fact Sheet

When it comes to playing the name game, norovirus knows. It can also be called the stomach flu, food poisoning or the cruise ship illness.

When it comes to playing the name game, norovirus knows. It can also be called the stomach flu, food poisoning or the cruise ship illness. While you may not know which to call it, when you get it, you know it. With recent reports of norovirus in the region, Sioux Valley wants to provide your family with this information. If you feel ill, seek medical help. You can locate a physician in your area by using the Sioux Valley Physician Finder.

What is norovirus?
Officials recently approved the name norovirus for the group of viruses that cause the "stomach flu" or gastroenteritis (pronounced GAS-tro-en-terI-tis). Norovirus is not the same as the flu (or influenza) caused by the influenza virus.

How does norovirus spread?
Norovirus can be very contagious. It spreads easily from person to person. You can become infected with norovirus by eating food, drinking liquids or touching objects contaminated with norovirus. Coming in direct contact with a person infected with norovirus or a person showing symptoms of norovirus can also put you at risk. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers with diarrhea.

What are the symptoms of norovirus?
Symptoms of norovirus illness begin about 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus but can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure. Most people get better within one or two days. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and some stomach cramping. Additionally, many people experience low-grade fever, chills, headcahe, muscle aches and a sense of tiredness. No vaccine or antiviral medication works against norovirus.

How can I protect myself from norovirus?
To decrease your chances of contracting norovirus:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after toilet visits and diaper changes since the virus can be found in stools

  • Wash fruits, vegetables and steam oysters before eating

  • Clean and disinfect all contaminated surfaces immediately after a norovirus exposure using bleach-based householder cleaner
  • Remove and wash (with hot water and soap) all clothing and linens that may be contaminated with the virus
  • Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure the surrounding area remains clean and disinfected

  • Do not allow people infected with norovirus to prepare food while showing symptoms and for 3 days after they recover



  • *Information from South Dakota Department of Health – Norovirus News:
    http://www.southdakota.us/news/showDoc.aspx?i=8004 and Centers for Disease Control (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm