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Published on 25 May 2023

Norovirus is a common cause of infectious gastroenteritis that results in diarrhoea and vomiting. As it's most common during the winter months, norovirus is sometimes known as the winter vomiting bug, but infections can occur at any time of year.

Norovirus is very easily spread from one person to another. Outbreaks of norovirus where more than two people are infected can commonly occur where people are in close contact with one another for long periods of time, in situations such as:

  • hospitals
  • care homes
  • schools
  • cruise ships.

Hand hygiene is very important – use soap and water for hand washing as alcohol based hand rub may be ineffective for norovirus.

It's important to wash your hands, particularly after contact with someone who is ill, after using the toilet and before preparing food.

To find out more about norovirus and how to stop it spreading, visit the NHS Inform website.

View our video, which explains what norovirus is and what to do if you've got it.


Surveillance report

Read the latest norovirus surveillance report.

Confirmed cases of norovirus

Read the latest report of laboratory confirmed cases of norovirus.


General information to prepare for and manage norovirus in care settings.

Infection prevention and control

For infection prevention and control guidance visit the A-Z pathogens section of the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual.