Digestive Health

Updated 06 August 2014

Norovirus infections

Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, from contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Noroviruses are a group of related viruses. Infection with these viruses causes an illness called gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It can spread from person to person, or through contaminated food or water. You can also get it if you touch a contaminated surface. Norovirus can be serious, especially for young children and older adults.

The most common symptoms of norovirus infection are:

 - Diarrhea
 - Nausea and vomiting
 - Stomach pain

Other symptoms may include fever, headache or body aches.

Treatment includes bed rest and lots of liquids to prevent dehydration. There is no specific medicine to treat norovirus infections.

Proper hand washing and safe food preparation may help prevent infections.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

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