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Home > What's New > Protect Yourself and Others From Norovirus

Protect Yourself and Others From Norovirus

Protect Yourself and Others From NorovirusWEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2010

Reports to the Sudbury & District Health Unit indicate that area daycares, schools, and the community-at-large are experiencing an increased occurrence of gastrointestinal disease, likely due to Norovirus. Norovirus, also known as Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses, refers to a family of viruses that is an important cause of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in children and adults.

Norovirus is highly contagious and everyone is susceptible to it. But unlike influenza, there is no vaccine for Norovirus. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are common symptoms. Headache and low-grade fever may also occur. The disease will usually clear up within 48 hours.

Although there is no specific treatment, drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration is recommended.

“The fecal-oral route is responsible for the spread of Norovirus,” said Holly Browne, a manager in the Health Unit’s Environmental Health Division. “The best way to protect yourself from the spread of Norovirus is to wash your hands thoroughly after each trip to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.”

Improper handwashing allows the virus to be spread through food and objects that an infected person touches. The best way to protect others is through handwashing and by staying home if you are ill.

Because Norovirus is so highly contagious, those who have symptoms should stay away from more vulnerable people and settings such as hospitals and long-term care homes.

“This virus flourishes in institutional environments like daycares, hospitals and nursing homes,” said Browne. “Hospital patients and long-term care residents are particularly susceptible. Bed rest, fluids, and good personal hygiene are the best medicine for this disease,” she added.

For more information on proper handwashing and how to protect yourself from Norovirus, please call the Sudbury & District Health Unit at (705) 522 9200, ext. 398, or visit



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