How Norovirus Spreads
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How Norovirus Spreads
You can get norovirus by accidentally getting tiny particles of poop or vomit from an infected person in your mouth.
eat food or drink liquids that are contaminated with norovirus,
touch surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus then put your fingers in your mouth, or
have direct contact with someone who is infected with norovirus, such as by caring for them or sharing food or eating utensils with them.
If you get norovirus illness, you can shed billions of norovirus particles that you can’t see without a microscope. Only a few norovirus particles can make other people sick. You are most contagious.
when you have symptoms of norovirus illness, especially vomiting, and
during the first few days after you recover from norovirus illness.
However, studies have shown that you can still spread norovirus for two weeks or more after you feel better.
Norovirus spreads through contaminated food
Norovirus can easily contaminate food and water because it only takes a very small amount of virus particles to make you sick. Food and water can get contaminated with norovirus in many ways, including when:
An infected person touches food with their bare hands that have poop or vomit particles on them
Food is placed on a counter or surface that has poop or vomit particles on it
Tiny drops of vomit from an infected person spray through the air and land on the food
The food is grown or harvested with contaminated water, such as oysters harvested from contaminated water, or fruit and vegetables irrigated with contaminated water in the field
Norovirus spreads through contaminated water
Recreational or drinking water can get contaminated with norovirus and make you sick or contaminate your food. This can happen:
At the source such as when a septic tank leaks into a well
When an infected person vomits or poops in the water
When water isn’t treated properly, such as not enough chlorine
For more information on healthy water and how water can get contaminated, visit www.cdc.gov/healthywater/.
Norovirus spreads through sick people and contaminated surfaces
Surfaces can get contaminated with norovirus in many ways, including when:
An infected person touches the surface with their bare hands that have poop or vomit particles on them
An infected person vomits or has diarrhea that splatters onto surfaces
Food, water, or objects that are contaminated with norovirus are placed on surfaces
Aerosolized vomit lands on surfaces or enters a person’s mouth then he or she swallows it
Norovirus spreads very easily and quickly in different ways.