Protect Yourself From Norovirus

Posted on February 24, 2011


This past week Boston was hit hard with the spread of a gastrointestinal ailment known as Norovirus. Norovirus is a highly contagious illness caused by infection with a virus called norovirus. It is often called by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning. The Boston Globe reports that “Citywide, hospital emergency rooms had a surge of patients last week with gastrointestinal ailments, accounting for 3 percent of all ER visits”. The Boston Conservatory alone had 61 cases of students, faculty, and staff falling ill. While the cases in Boston seem to be declining, it is still important to take measures to protect yourself and those around you. Here are some basic tips from the CDC to keep you informed and healthy:

  • Practice proper hand hygiene: Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be a helpful addition to hand washing.

  • Take care in the kitchen: Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and shellfish thoroughly before eating them. Do not prepare food while infected: People who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.

  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces: After an episode of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner.

  • Wash laundry thoroughly: Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. Handle soiled items carefully to avoid spreading virus.

If you have any more questions or concerns please call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050, or click here for more information on the norovirus.