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FAQ: Here’s what you need to know about norovirus

January 2, 2019

Danbury officials confirmed the recent outbreak of illnesses around Christmas was caused by norovirus, the same cause for a rash of illnesses at Western Connecticut State University last April.

Here’s what you need to know about the virus.

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug.

What causes it?

People can get norovirus from infected people or contaminated food, water or surfaces. Leafy greens, fresh fruit and shellfish are the most common foods involved.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms will appear 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to it and last one to three days. Symptoms usually begin suddenly and include nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, chills, stomach pain, diarrhea and muscle aches, according to the Danbury Department of Health and Human Services.

How common is it?

Norovirus is the leading cause of illness from contaminated food in the United States. It causes about half of all outbreaks of food-related illness. Most of these outbreaks occur in food service settings like restaurants, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

How to protect yourself and others?

Some good practices to avoid spreading norovirus is to wash your hands with soap, especially after using the bathroom and preparing food; don’t prepare food and avoid contact with children, seniors, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems for 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped; wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly.

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