Most norovirus outbreaks in the U.S. happen between November and April. On average, the country sees around 20 million cases per year, with nearly 110,000 hospitalizations and 900 deaths, mostly among those who are 65 and older.
Norovirus appears to be at a seasonal high, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of norovirus tests coming back positive, averaged over three weeks, exceeded 15% at the end of last week. That’s the highest recorded since late March 2022.
Norovirus is sometimes referred to as the stomach flu, but it is not related to the influenza virus. Rather, it is a highly contagious virus that typically causes gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain. Mild fever and aches are possible, too.
Just a few virus particles are enough to make someone sick, and they spread easily via hands, surfaces, food and water. An infected person can transmit the virus for days after they’re feeling better, potentially even up to two weeks, according to the CDC.
Tips to Prevent Norovirus
You can help protect yourself and others from norovirus by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water and following other simple prevention tips.