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It is estimated that over 23 million cases of norovirus infection occur in the US each year, and that noroviruses cause at least 50% of all food related outbreaks.

These infections are also common in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, cruise ships and prisons. In the 2006-2007 “season” (November – February), 65 norovirus outbreaks were investigated in Georgia; most were thought to be “person to person” transmission in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Norviruses are highly infectious and are transmitted through ingestion of fecal
matter and/or vomit, even in microscopic amounts. The symptoms of a norovirus
infection usually begin 12-48 hours after ingestion of the virus and cause nausea,
 vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps; other symptoms can include
headache, fever/chills, muscle aches and fatigue.

Most people recover within 1-2 days, but may still be contagious for up to two
weeks. There is no treatment, other than drinking fluids to prevent dehydration.
Noroviruses have been implicated in outbreaks after consumption of raw shellfish,
salads, coleslaw, fruits, eggs, bakery products and water.

Although infection with norovirus is often called “stomach flu,” it is NOT related to
the flu or influenza virus, which causes a respiratory illness.