Huaketo Noro Norovirus

Norovirus is a virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea (gastroenteritis). It is very infectious, meaning it spreads very easily. You can catch norovirus by eating contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces. You can also catch it by breathing in droplets from a person who has vomited.

Symptoms of norovirus

You usually get symptoms 1 to 2 days after being infected with the virus. The symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting. Some people have:

  • a fever
  • painful stomach cramps
  • aches and pains
  • blood in their poo (faeces).

Symptoms can last for 2 to 3 days.

Diagnosing norovirus

Norovirus is diagnosed from a poo (faeces) sample.

Treating norovirus

There is no medicine for norovirus. The treatment is aimed at relieving symptoms. Rest and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. See the self care section on our gastroenteritis page for more details.

Gastroenteritis (internal link)

Getting help with norovirus

You should see your healthcare provider if you have bloody diarrhoea or a fever or if your symptoms have not gone away after 7 days.

You should also see your healthcare provider if you are very unwell or have a weakened immune system.

You should take your tamaiti (child) to your healthcare provider if they:

  • are not drinking
  • are passing less wee (urine) than usual
  • have a dry mouth or sunken eyes
  • seem drowsy.

Avoiding spreading norovirus

You are usually infectious for 3 days after your symptoms stop. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, it is important to have good hand hygiene. This includes washing your hands with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet.

Keep your hands clean: Healthy habits (internal link)

Use separate towels and flannels. Wash any infected clothing or bedding separately in hot water. Try to avoid preparing food if you have norovirus. If you do prepare food, make sure you wash and dry your hands well first. Follow food safety advice.

Preparing and storing food safely at home — New Zealand Food Safety (external link)

Stay away from work, community gatherings and school or preschool until you or your tamaiti (child) have been free of symptoms for 48 hours. This includes the last time you had diarrhoea.

You should wait for at least 2 weeks after the last episode of diarrhoea before you go swimming in a pool.

Clinical review

This content was written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. It has been adapted for Health Information and Services.

Clinical advisers — HealthInfo (external link)