NH DHHS Issues Reminder to Residents: Take Simple Steps to Stop the Spread of Norovirus This Season

Concord, NH – The winter season is typically the time of year when there is

an increase in the incidence of gastrointestinal illness, often caused by

norovirus, so the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is offering tips to help guard against the spread of this illness.

This season so far is no exception from previous years, with many reports

of illness coming into the Division of Public Health Services (DPHS).

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastrointestinal illness or

what many people refer to as “the stomach flu.” Though they have nothing to

do with the flu (also called influenza), which is a respiratory illness,

noroviruses are highly contagious and can be responsible for large

outbreaks in communal settings such as healthcare facilities, schools, and

childcare centers.

“New Hampshire residents can play an important role in helping to stop the

spread of norovirus and other illnesses,” said DHHS Public Health Director

Dr. José Montero, “but it requires that all of us be vigilant in our

personal hygiene habits.”

Noroviruses can be transmitted a number of ways, including through

person-to-person contact, consumption of contaminated food and water,

airborne droplets of vomit, and contact with contaminted surfaces, such as

doorknobs and faucets. Symptoms of the illness include vomiting, diarrhea,

abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, and headache.

There is no specific treatment for norovirus and symptoms typically resolve

within 48 hours. However, DPHS recommends following these common sense

steps to aid in prevention:

Wash hands with soap and warm water after using the bathroom,

changing diapers, or caring for a household member with

symptoms of norovirus

Wash hands with soap and warm water before preparing or eating


Cook shellfish thoroughly before eating

Wash raw vegetables before eating

Food service workers with symptoms of norovirus should not

prepare or touch food

Health care workers with norovirus symptoms should stay home

from work

Children with norovirus symptoms should stay home from school

or child care.

“Following these simple measures will help more New Hampshire residents

stay healthy during

this winter season,” Montero said. The Division of Public Health Services

will continue monitoring norovirus activity in New Hampshire. More

information about noroviruses is available on the DHHS website at

www.dhhs.nh.gov and on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

website at www.cdc.gov . To report an outbreak, contact DPHS’ Bureau of

Infectious Disease Control and Surveillance at 603-271-4496.