On the heels of the Norovirus illness that afflicted over 100 sports campers in June, we have compiled some information so you can learn what you can do to protect yourself, your co-workers, and your family.
Norovirus is very contagious and is the most common cause of the “stomach flu” in the United States. It can easily spread in the same manner as the flu viruses. Often times this inadvertently occurs when an infected person improperly washes their hands after using the restroom. The virus can then spread to any surface that person touches such as door handles, stairway railings, faucets, food, light switches, etc. Therefore it is imperative that one washes their hands properly. The easiest way to do this is to scrub with soap and water for 20 seconds (or two renditions of Happy Birthday). It is also worth mentioning that only certain sanitizers kill Norovirus. Therefore, be sure to read labels to make sure it is capable of killing Norovirus. Special note: hand sanitizers do not kill Norovirus. Hand washing remains the best defense.
The usual symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. They typically begin about 24 to 48 hours after exposure, and last for one to two days. Individuals are contagious for at least 2 to 3 days after symptoms subside, but possibly for as long as two weeks. So again, hand washing remains critical.
In the case of the sports campers, it was quickly determined that the outbreak had nothing to do with food. An exact source of the June outbreak has not been released.