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Thurston County, Washington

Public Health and Social Services

You may hear norovirus illness be called “food poisoning,” “stomach flu,” or “stomach bug.” Noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne illness, but other germs and chemicals can also cause foodborne illness. Norovirus illness is not related to the flu, which is caused by influenza virus.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus. You can get norovirus from:

  • Having direct contact with an infected person
  • Consuming contaminated food or water
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth


Protect yourself and others from norovirus:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook shellfish thoroughly.
  • Stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.
  • Avoid preparing food for others when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.


There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids to replace fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhea. 

Learn more at Norovirus (CDC).

“Protect Yourself and Others from Norovirus” infographic: