Norovirus Infection

What is the incubation period for a norovirus infection? How long are people infected with norovirus contagious?

Norovirus may have a prolonged infection period that starts even before someone gets sick. There is a short lag or incubation period (up to two days) between the time that people acquire the virus and the time they get symptoms. People may be contagious during this period. All people are contagious while they are having symptoms or showing signs.

Although the most contagious period is over when the patient's symptoms resolve, even some people who appear to have recovered completely after a norovirus infection may continue to shed the virus for weeks in their stool and may be a source of infection to others. People with compromised immune systems (for example, those receiving chemotherapy or undergoing organ transplant) may shed the virus for months. However, in general, most individuals become noncontagious about 72 hours after symptoms have resolved. Consequently, although it may be difficult for parents to do so, children and adults should not go back to school, day care, or work until they have been symptom-free for three days. Continue Reading

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Reviewed on 10/28/2015
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