Newsroom > DHHS News Release

Jan. 26, 2012
Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356
Norovirus Outbreaks Reported to DHHS
Preventive Measures Help Stop Spread
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Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) received several reports of norovirus outbreaks in long-term care facilities within the last three weeks. 
Norovirus is a common virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting. Illness is usually brief and lasts for only one or two days. Most of the time norovirus does not require medical evaluation or treatment.
“If we’re seeing norovirus outbreaks in facilities, the virus is most likely circulating in communities as well,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. “It’s highly contagious, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and prevent the spread.”
Norovirus infections are spread by:
  • People with diarrhea or vomiting handling and preparing food.
  • Direct contact with an infected person, such as through sharing food or shaking hands.
  • Hand-to-mouth transfer after touching contaminated surfaces or objects.
To prevent the spread of norovirus, it’s important to:
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Do not prepare food for other people during your illness and for 2 to 3 days after getting better.
  • Clean and disinfect any object or surface contaminated by vomiting or diarrhea with a household cleaner containing bleach or with a homemade cleaner made by adding 5-25 tablespoons of bleach to a gallon of water.
  • Wash clothing that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness, using hot water and soap.
People who are ill with vomiting and diarrhea should drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Young children and the elderly can become dehydrated more easily and should be watched carefully.