May 19, 2014: The Southern Nevada Health District continues to receive reports of gastrointestinal illness in the community and has confirmed norovirus as the cause of a recent outbreak.
Norovirus is an infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea and one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis. It is most commonly spread person to person. The health district is continuing to investigate these reports of illness and does suspect norovirus to be the cause.
What are noroviruses?
The noroviruses, also sometimes referred to as Norwalk-like viruses, are a group of viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Who gets norovirus infection?
Anyone who becomes ill from infection with a norovirus.
How are the viruses spread?
Norovirus can easily be spread from person to
person. Ways that noroviruses can spread include:
Eating food or drinking liquids that have been
contaminated by the feces or vomit of an infected
Touching or surfaces contaminated with the virus,
and then placing parts of the hand in their mouth.
Ingesting particles of vomitus that have been
Direct contact with a sick person (such as caring
for a sick individual or sharing food, water or
What are the symptoms of norovirus infection?
Symptoms generally last for one or two days and include:
Other symptoms may also be present, such as:
Typically, children experience more
vomiting than adults, though most people infected with a norovirus have both diarrhea and vomiting.
Dehydration is the most common complication of
infection with norovirus.
How soon do symptoms appear?
Symptoms usually appear within one to two days
after exposure to the virus, but illness can occur as
soon as 12 hours afterwards.
How long can an infected person spread the
The infectious period begins with onset of symptoms
and usually ceases three days after symptoms are
gone, however, some people are still infectious two
weeks after their symptoms have ended.
What is the treatment for norovirus infection?
Norovirus illnesses are generally self-limited, lasting
only a few days. Noroviruses cannot be
treated with antibiotics since these medications are
not effective against viruses.
Treatment consists of drinking fluids
to prevent dehydration.
Fruit juices and sugary soft
drinks should be avoided.
How can the spread of norovirus be stopped?
People infected with a norovirus should stay
home while they are ill.
Children should be kept out
of the childcare or school setting as long as diarrhea
or vomiting is present.
People in the following professions should exclude
themselves from work until 72 hours after symptoms
work in childcare centers or schools
People should wash their hands
with soap and warm water after using the toilet, and
before meals and snacks.
Surfaces that may have been contaminated by feces or vomit should be disinfected
with a bleach-based household cleaner.
Where can I get more information?
Visit the CDC's Norovirus webpage or contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300 or the or Environmental Health Division at (702) 759-0588.
Vomiting Larry: Why Norovirus is difficult to clean up.
Nevada Norovirus Summit Training DVD
In 2003-2004 Las Vegas experienced an outbreak of Norovirus. The Nevada Norovirus Summit was held as a preventative approach against future Norovirus outbreaks in Las Vegas.
The summit was filmed and the Norovirus Training DVD is available for purchase at a cost of $29.95 plus $2 shipping per DVD. To order the Norovirus Training DVD, complete the order form and mail to the health district.
The DVD's are a great learning tool for management interested in addressing the multifaceted issues associated with Norovirus prevention and control in hospitality facilities, restaurants, child care centers, and schools.
By implementing the suggestions on the DVD your facility can control an outbreak of Norovirus and reduce the number of human cases of illness.
DVD chapters include:
Norovirus Outbreaks in Hotels: Issues and Challenges
Las Vegas Norovirus Outbreak Discussion
Environmental Health Systems Approach: Norovirus Control