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Noroviruses, previously called "Norwalk-like viruses," are a group of viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States and a common cause of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, schools, restaurants, and other group settings.

Noroviruses spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. The spread of norovirus illness can be controlled by following these simple measures:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water and dry with a clean towel (hand sanitizer gels are not effective against norovirus);
  • Clean up vomit and diarrhea;
  • Stay home when sick;
  • While you have norovirus symptoms, do not prepare food for others to eat while you are sick and for at least 48 hours afterward; and
  • Even after your symptoms are gone, continue to be careful to wash your hands frequently, especially after going to the bathroom; people can spread the virus for days and sometimes weeks after their illness ends.

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