Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause an illness some people call the "stomach flu." They are not related to the flu (influenza). Another name for noroviruses is gastroenteritis.
Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common. Other symptoms may include nausea, stomach cramps, fever, chills, aches, and tiredness.
Symptoms start 1 to 2 days after contact with the virus.
Noroviruses are spread through close contact with infected people. For example, noroviruses spread through changing diapers, sharing eating utensils, eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus, or touching infected surfaces or objects and then putting your hands in or near your mouth. Stomach viruses can also spread quickly in group settings like nursing homes, schools, day care centers, and dormitories.
People can spread a stomach virus from the moment they feel sick until at least 3 days after they get better.
A health care provider usually makes a diagnosis based on symptoms.
There are no specific treatments for noroviruses. Antibiotics do not work. Your doctor may give you medicine to stop the vomiting and diarrhea, but most people get better on their own within 1-2 days. If you have diarrhea or are vomiting, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration (too much fluid loss). If you think you are becoming dehydrated (dry mouth, dry skin, dry eyes), go to a doctor or hospital immediately.
Yes. Sick people should stay home until completely recovered, especially food handlers and workers in schools, day care centers, and health care settings.