MCHD recommends taking measures to avoid contracting norovirus 02.29.2024

February 29, 2024

MCHD recommends taking measures to avoid contracting norovirus

MOBILE, Ala. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report a current spike in cases of norovirus, the highly contagious illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Since a low of 2.5 percent positive cases reported in the southeastern United States during October 2023, recent CDC data from participating labs shows it has climbed to 9.6 percent as of February 10.

“While we have not seen an unusual increase in gastrointestinal illnesses in Mobile County emergency departments, we did have a norovirus outbreak that occurred in a local nursing home recently,” said Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County.

Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus. Norovirus is sometimes called the “stomach flu” or “stomach bug.” However, norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is caused by influenza virus.

“There are several ways to protect yourself and others from norovirus,” said Dr. Michaels. “Norovirus is transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching your mouth.”

Norovirus is notably contagious during the period of active symptoms and can continue to be spread by an infected person for several days after recovery. For more comprehensive information, please visit the CDC’s guide on norovirus transmission at

Norovirus symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Other symptoms can be fever, headache, and body aches. Symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can be severe, especially in young children and older adults. It is important to stay hydrated and seek medical advice if needed.

To prevent the spread of norovirus, consider these strategies:

  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, and cook shellfish to an internal temperature of at least 145°F.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces, especially after vomiting or diarrhea incidents, using a chlorine bleach solution or an EPA-registered product against norovirus.
  • Avoid preparing food for others or providing care when sick and for at least two days after symptoms cease.
  • Wash contaminated laundry in hot water and dry on the highest heat setting.

Last Updated on February 29, 2024 by MCHDadmin