What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that is the most common cause of vomiting, diarrhea, and foodborne illness . Norovirus illness is often called “food poisoning,” a “stomach bug,” or the “stomach flu” (even though it is not related to the flu , which is caused by Influenza). About 20 million people get sick from norovirus each year. Norovirus infection occurs most frequently in closed and crowded environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, childcare centers, schools, and cruise ships. Infected food service workers account for 70% of norovirus outbreaks. While this virus can spread anytime, outbreaks occur most often from November to April.
Preventing the Spread of Norovirus
Norovirus can spread by the following means :
- Eating food that is contaminated with norovirus, which can happen when:
- An infected person touches food with contaminated hands
- Respiratory droplets from an infected person land on food
- Food is grown or harvested with contaminated water
- Drinking water that is contaminated with norovirus, which can happen when:
- A septic tank leaks into a well
- Water is not properly treated for contaminants
- Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with Norovirus and then putting your fingers in your mouth, which can happen when:
- An infected person touches a surface with contaminated hands
- Respiratory droplets or diarrhea particles from an infected person splatter onto surfaces
- Contaminated food, water, or objects are placed on surfaces
- Tiny respiratory droplets from an infected person spray through the air and enter another person’s mouth
- Accidentally ingesting contaminated water from a swimming pool or other recreational water source
- According to one study , Norovirus was the second-leading cause of outbreaks in untreated recreational water from 1978–2010. It can live in water for several months or possibly even years.
People who are infected with Norovirus shed the virus in their poop. This is how it gets into the environment and can infect other people. Regular hand hygiene and surface disinfection are important preventative measures. Also avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. Since this virus can be found in contaminated water, proper water purification is a vital component in preventing its spread. Since household wells can be a source of enterovirus infection, they should be tested regularly and properly maintained. Pools and other recreational water sources should be properly disinfected.
Get Additional Protection with Germicidal UV Disinfection
In addition to the above preventative measures, Germicidal Ultraviolet (UV-C) surface disinfection (in the dosage listed below) can inactivate Norovirus in many applications. Our products use STER-L-RAY® Germicidal UV-C Lamps producing ultraviolet wavelengths at 254 nanometers, the region of germicidal effectiveness most destructive to harmful microorganisms.
Germicidal Ultraviolet (UV-C) Water Purification can inactivate Norovirus in drinking water or water used for food preparation. View our application page on Well Water Contamination for more information on how UV purification can help protect your well water against and this virus and many other harmful microorganisms. Germicidal UV Disinfection can be used to protect pools and other recreational water sources from various pathogens . UV-C disinfection will inactivate Norovirus on surfaces that could be contaminated — making it an added benefit for the food service industry, hospitals, nursing homes, childcare centers, schools, and cruise ships. Please see dosage data listed below.
Norovirus: Classification & UV-C Dose for Inactivation
Where is it found?
What can it infect?
How Does it Spread?
Most people infected with Norovirus experience the following symptoms :
- Stomach pain
Frequent diarrhea can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses. Other symptoms include fever, headache, and body aches. Most people become sick 12–48 hours after exposure to Norovirus and will recover within 3 days.
Sources on Norovirus
The above information can be found on the following pages. Please read complete articles to learn more.
- CDC: Vital Signs – Preventing Norovirus Outbreaks
- CDC: Preventing Norovirus Outbreaks infographic
- CDC: Foods That Can Cause Food Poisoning
- Mayo Clinic: Norovirus Infection
* Nominal Ultraviolet dosage necessary to inactivate better than 99% of microorganisms. See sources below.
- Sensitivity of Bacteria, Protozoa, Viruses, and Other Microorganisms to Ultraviolet Radiation. Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Volume 126, Article No. 126021. August 20, 2021.
Learn More & Shop Our Products to Inactivate Norovirus
Made in the USA from U.S. and imported parts, Water Purification and Air & Surface Disinfection models from Atlantic Ultraviolet Corporation® are constructed of the highest quality materials and use germicidal UV-C lamps to disinfect water, inactivating microorganisms like Norovirus.
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