Norovirus Outbreaks Cause DHHS to Offer Prevention Tips


The NebraskaDepartment of Health and Human Services says they have received several reports of norovirus outbreaks from long-term care facilities, something they say is an indicator of circulation among the public as well.

The department warns that norovirus, or what is commonly referred to as the stomach bug, spreads quickly and easily.

Common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever and body aches. Officials say the illness usually presents itself within12-48 hours after exposure and lasts one to three days.

Dr. Joseph Acierno, director of Public Health for DHHS, says staying hydrated is key. He says young children and the elderly can more easily become dehydrated and should be watched carefully.

The health department offered the following tips to aid in prevention:

  • Have a "sick" bag close by - With norovirus infection, vomiting can happen so quickly that you may be unable to reach the bathroom. If you're nauseous, find something that can be used to contain the vomit to help control the spread of the virus.
  • Do not prepare food for other people during your illness and for two to three days after getting better.
  • Clean and disinfect any object or surface contaminated by vomiting or diarrhea with a household cleaner containing bleach or with a homemade cleaner made by adding 5-25 tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water.
  • Wash clothing that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness, using hot water and soap.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables and cook shellfish thoroughly - Cook shellfish to 140 degrees or higher.

The department advises additional caution for people working in child care centers or schools as these environments lend themselves to quick spreading of the virus.