Good hygiene helps keep norovirus away

What we commonly call stomach flu is a norovirus infection. Did you know norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States?

Have you ever had the “stomach flu”? My family has and it’s the pits. What we commonly call stomach flu is a norovirus infection. Did you know norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 20 million Americans are sickened by norovirus every year, causing up to 71,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Norovirus is highly contagious and it can stay in your system for two weeks or longer, even after you feel better. The virus can spread through contaminated food, but it also can live on surfaces, such as countertops and serving utensils, for up to two weeks. The virus can spread quickly in closed places such as daycare centers, nursing homes, dormitories and schools, with most outbreaks in the U.S. occurring between November and April. Norovirus is not related to the virus that causes the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness.

I spoke with family medicine physician James T. Jennings, M.D., about norovirus and what you can do to keep norovirus away from you and your family.


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