What kind of illness is caused by the Norwalk virus?
Norwalk and Norwalk-like viruses usually cause a mild illness, with onset marked by sudden vomiting and diarrhea. Usually within a day or two, the vomiting and diarrhea have passed.
Because the virus multiplies in the intestine, a very large number of virus particles are in the feces or vomitus when a person has a Norwalk-like virus infection. It does not take very many viral particles cause an infection; thus the percentage of people who get ill after consuming a food contaminated with Norwalk-like viruses may be very high.
Shigella species and E. coli O157:H7 also have a low infectious dose and infections with these two bacteria can also be gotten from contaminated food.
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What's news about washing my hands?
Yes, we know that's what Mom used to tell you. It's still a very important way to prevent illness.
Most of the illnesses that are associated with poor hand washing are passed from human or animal feces to food. So it's really important to wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a baby's diaper, or touch a pet and other animal.
An infected cut or burn can also be a source of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
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