Best Way to Fight Off Norovirus: Wash Your Hands

From - March 8, 2018

Best Way to Fight Off Norovirus: Wash Your Hands

THURSDAY, March 8, 2018 -- Washing your hands often and thoroughly is the best way to protect yourself if you are caught in a norovirus outbreak, researchers say.

Norovirus is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Outbreaks can crop up anywhere and anytime. However, they often occur in densely populated spots with large common areas -- cruise ships, vacation resorts, even Olympic villages.

To figure out how norovirus spreads, Arizona State University researchers analyzed data from a past cruise ship outbreak and used a mathematical model to determine how the virus was transmitted.

The main method of transmission, the investigators found, is person-to-person contact. They then assessed the effectiveness of different ways to halt the spread of the virus, such as hand washing and surface cleaning.

"It only takes a few virus particles to make you sick, so no matter how stringent the cleaning, it is next to impossible to remove all the virus from contaminated surfaces," the study's lead author, Sherry Towers, said in a university news release.

"However, since the primary route for infection is hand-to-mouth contact, you ca not be infected if you wash your hands thoroughly before eating or touching your face," she said.

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