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ABCNews.com: What to Know About the Symptoms and Treatment of Norovirus as It Spreads Across the US

ABCNews.com recently interviewed infectious disease specialist Soniya Gandhi, MD, MPH, associate chief medical officer at Cedars-Sinai, to discuss the recent increase in norovirus cases and how to avoid getting sick. 

Norovirus, the No. 1 cause of foodborne illness in the U.S., is more common in adults than in children. An infection often resolves quickly and can appear similar to food poisoning.

“One of the distinguishing features of norovirus is that it is highly contagious and transmissible, so just a few virus particles can cause someone to be sick,” Gandhi told ABCNews.com.

Gandhi explained that unlike food poisoning, it can take up to 48 hours for a person to develop norovirus symptoms—which include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. 

“The other piece with norovirus to recognize is that even after an individual recovers and is feeling better … they can shed norovirus in their stool for weeks subsequently,” she told ABCNews.com. “And so, I think that also contributes to its transmissibility and is a distinguishing feature from kind of the run-of-the-mill food poisoning.”

Because there isn’t a treatment for the illness, it must run its course. To minimize discomfort, experts recommend staying hydrated, eating bland foods and taking medications as needed. 

Gandhi also encouraged practicing preventive measures, such as good hand hygiene, to avoid an infection during an outbreak. But washing hands with soap and water is preferred over hand sanitizer.  

“Norovirus actually has a pretty tough protective shell,” she said. “So, alcohol doesn’t deactivate the virus as well and is not as effective as handwashing, eliminating norovirus from your hands. So that is the number one tool we have.” 

Click here to read the complete story on ABCNews.com.