Norovirus spreads rapidly, has painful and violent symptoms, and is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States. According to the CDC, Norovirus causes 19–21 million illnesses a year and up to 71,000 hospitalizations. In addition, 570–800 deaths a year are attributed to Norovirus.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is the name for a group of viruses that cause inflammation of the stomach and intestine linings.
What are the symptoms?
- Stomach pain/cramps
- Body aches
How is Norovirus transmitted?
Norovirus is primarily found in feces. Food can get contaminated when:
- Infected people who have stool/vomit on their hands touch food.
- Food/food ware is placed on surfaces that have infected stool/vomit on them.
- Tiny drops of stool/vomit land on food.
5 ways that food workers can help prevent the spread of Norovirus:
- Do not come to work while experiencing symptoms. If experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, call the manager and do not come into work. If already at work, notify the manager immediately and leave the food establishment.
- Do not return to work until symptoms have been absent for at least 24 hours.
- Wash hands carefully and thoroughly; especially after using the restroom. Since norovirus is spread primarily through feces and vomit, employee handwashing is the number one way to prevent the spread of norovirus.
- Clean and sanitize kitchen utensils and kitchen surfaces regularly.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables before use. Cook shellfish thoroughly before serving.
Click on the links below to read about norovirus in the news:
Chipotle to Close All Restaurants for Company-Wide Meeting in February—Fox News
More than 200 Sickened on Cruise Ships—CNN
Norovirus Sickens Dozens at Seattle Retirement Community—KOMO News
Report: Hotel chef ‘most likely’ source of norovirus outbreak—Food Safety News
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— Jessica Hill
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.