Increase Seen in Reports of Possible Norovirus

Monday, November 22, 2010 - 5:46am

Public Health Offers Prevention Tips

Public Health Madison and Dane County has been receiving sporadic reports from around Dane County of cases of what is likely norovirus. Norovirus is an illness that comes on quickly and produces vomiting and/or, diarrhea. It spreads very quickly from person to person, often through touching a surface contaminated with the virus, and through food that is contaminated by the infected person who prepares or serves it.

The diarrhea caused by this illness is usually watery (not bloody) and other symptoms can include cramps, nausea, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and low-grade or no fever.

The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is by following these recommendations:

• Frequently wash your hands, especially after toilet visits and changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.
• Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
• Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
• Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.

It is extremely important that people NOT handle food while they are ill and for 48 hours after recovery, the timeframe when they are still likely able to pass the virus on to others. This warning covers both people responsible for food preparation at home, as well as people who work in the food industry.

Norovirus can spread very quickly in school and child care settings. If children seem to show early symptoms of norovirus: headache, stomachache, nausea or other symptoms, parents should not let them attend school or child care until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
For more information about preventing norovirus, go to these web links:

Norovirus fact sheet:

Handwashing fact sheet:

Handwashing video:



  • Judy Aubey(608) 243-0316
  • Amanda Kita-Yarbro(608) 243-0336
  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302