Don’t make others barf, vomit into your elbow; norovirus control strategies

“Norovirus is much more contagious than people think,” said Doug Powell, professor of food safety at Kansas State University. “In the past, we’ve seen multiple outbreaks in group settings like cruise ships, care facilities, university residences, schools, sporting teams and restaurants. It’s a massive amount of barf.”

Even those who clean up vomit have to be especially careful because norovirus-2viral particles are dispersed in the air, Powell said.

“Many people say they routinely wash their hands, but even in an outbreak situation, observational research shows they really don’t,” Powell said. “And it’s not enough to say, ‘Wash your hands.’ There needs to be access to proper hand-washing tools — vigorous running water, soap and paper towels — as well as compelling behavioral messages, like ‘Don’t make others barf,’ to get people to wash their hands.” 

Powell includes more information about the current norovirus outbreak on his blog: