Winter vomiting disease What is winter vomiting disease?

Winter vomiting disease is caused by the small round structured virus (SRSV), also known as the Norwalk-like virus or norovirus.

Norovirus lives in the gut and is passed from person to person by poor hygiene after using the bathroom - not washing hands properly after using the toilet and then touching toilet handles, seats, door handles and so on.

It can also be spread when someone vomits and small aerosols containing the virus enter the air.

Symptoms of winter vomiting disease

Only very small amounts of the virus are needed to cause illness and it's easily spread in closed communities, such as hospitals, schools and cruise ships.

The incubation period is usually between 24 and 48 hours. This is followed by severe and sudden projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and fever symptoms, which last about 48 hours.

Treatment and recovery from winter vomiting disease

Although the infection's unpleasant, it's rarely dangerous. There's no specific treatment, but rest and drinking plenty of water are recommended. A bigger problem is eradicating it fully.

Practising good hygiene by washing hands regularly reduces the chance of passing on the infection. People with the winter vomiting bug should stay off work while the symptoms persist and for about two days afterwards, when they're still infectious