What Is Norovirus?

Check out our fact sheet on norovirus, the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States.

Keystone - News & Insights

May 24, 2017

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can cause a person’s digestive system to become inflamed. Norovirus is sometimes referred to as “food poisoning” or the “stomach flu.” Although it can cause food poisoning, it’s not related to the stomach flu.

Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks in the U.S. The amount of virus particles that fit on the head of a pin are enough to infect 1,000-plus people. Norovirus can spread before and after symptoms are present.

Norovirus is hard to kill as it can:

  • survive on surfaces and utensils for weeks
  • remain infectious in food at freezing temperatures and even in some cooked foods
  • resist many common disinfectants and sanitizers

Norovirus can enter a restaurant via:

  • employees
  • customers
  • food contaminated at its source.

Noroviruses can spread easily by:

  • consuming contaminated food or drink
  • touching contaminated people, objects or surfaces
  • breathing airborne virus particles


Read more about Norovirus at the CDC.


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