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DC Department of Health Reminds Residents to Take Precaution to Avoid Gastrointestinal Viruses

Friday, February 17, 2012
Frequent handwashing is encouraged to avoid the spread of Norovirus and other gastrointestinal viruses.

Washington, DC – In the wake of recent outbreaks that have occurred in several parts of the city, the DC Department of Health (DOH) reminds residents that the winter months are the height of Norovirus season.  Norovirus is a viral illness which can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  While symptoms can be uncomfortable, Norovirus is usually not serious and most people get better in one to two days.  Symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Low-grade fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and
  • General sense of tiredness<

Residents should take precaution to make sure they do their part to reduce the chance of infecting others.   Although there is no medication or vaccine to help treat and prevent the viruses, the best way to avoid infecting others is

  • Frequent hand washing with warm water and soap
  • Promptly disinfecting contaminated surfaces with household chlorine bleach-based cleaners
  • Washing soiled clothing and linens
  • Avoid food or water from sources that may be contaminated
  • Prompt washing of all contaminated soiled articles of clothing
  • Avoid ingestion of any food or beverages thought to be contaminated

Infected individuals are advised to drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration and to remain home and away from work.  Norovirus is very contagious is spread from person-to-person, by touching contaminated surfaces and by sharing contaminated food, drinking, and eating utensils.

It is strongly encouraged that those not infected avoid touching their mouths before hand washing and avoid having direct contact with someone who is infected.

For more information about Norovirus, please visit