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Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the UK, affecting people of all ages with diarrhoea and vomiting. It is also known as the winter vomiting bug, although you can catch it at any time of the year. It usually clears up by itself in a few days.

Working with food

It is important that anyone working with food does not attend work whilst they have symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting and should not return to work until symptoms have ceased for 48 hours.

Food safety advice - norovirus

Preventing contamination and infection

The virus is easily spread by contact with an infected person, especially through hand contact.

You can also catch it through contaminated food or drink or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of Norovirus is to:

  • wash your hands frequently
  • not share towels and flannels
  • not share cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery
  • disinfect any hard surfaces that an infected person has touched with a chlorine releasing agent, such as bleach

Outbreaks of Norovirus often occur in care settings such as nurseries, schools and residential care homes. It is important that outbreaks are controlled as early as possible by thorough cleaning and disinfection and good personal hygiene.

Further advice is available from the NHS and Public Health England


When this content has been updated

Last updated 25 April 2023