IOWA — Norovirus is circulating across Iowa.

Norovirus (also known as the “stomach bug”) symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is very infections and can be spread by having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, touching contaminated surfaces then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.

While individual cases of norovirus are not required by law to be reported to public health, public health is hearing from individuals and the healthcare community that norovirus illnesses have increased in recent weeks. IDPH, SHL and local public health partners have investigated multiple norovirus outbreaks throughout the state; most were associated with long term care facilities.

All suspected outbreaks of norovirus (or any other disease) are immediately reportable to IDPH at 800-362-2736. When suspected norovirus outbreaks are reported, public health works to verify the cause of the outbreak by collecting and testing stool specimens. Facilities are also provided detailed guidance regarding cleaning procedures, isolation of ill individuals, hand hygiene, etc.

Although outbreaks occur throughout the year, norovirus outbreaks tend to peak during winter months. Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea and vomiting in the U.S. and worldwide. Norovirus is extremely infectious and can be spread via direct contact with an infected individual, but also via contaminated surfaces or food.

For more information about norovirus, visit www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html.

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