Can pests transmit norovirus?

It’s that time of year again! Even if you don’t know it by it’s real name, I guarantee you’re all familiar with norovirus. Often refereed to as the stomach flu or winter vomiting bug, the norovirus is at it’s height this time of the year. Many times nororvirius is confused with influenza, however, this is a completely different virus! It’s understandable why the two may be confused, since sometimes the flu may also cause vomiting and diarrhea. The norovirus targets the intestines exclusively and symptoms can last one to three days. Those infected by the virus start to show symptoms usually in twelve to forty-eight hours.

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At one time or another, we’ve all been infected with nororvirus. Some people are unfortunate enough to get it once a year, but it depends on your atmospheric conditions when it comes to your likelihood of contracting the bug. For example, norovirus is especially common on cruise ships. You can think of a cruise ship as a human petri dish when it comes to spreading the bug. It’s most commonly spread human to human when an unfortunate victim comes into contact with a surface that is contaminated with the virus. Sometimes it’s spread through the air when walking into an area that someone recently vomited or had diarrhea in. Door handles, counter-tops, shaking hands, and infected food preparation handlers are the most common ways the disease is spread. But what about pests like insects and rodents? How common is it?

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Indeed, the answer would be yes, pests such as fleas, mosquitoes, flies, rodents, and cockroaches all can transmit the disease to humans. In fact, it’s more common than you might think as often times pests that are responsible for spreading the disease are not recognized for doing so. A simple yet disgusting scenario for pests involvement in the spread of nororvirus would be a fly that consumes vomit. The fly then lands on food that we consume or a surface we come in contact with. The virus is highly contagious.

Preventive measures taken to kill norovirus are to make sure you continuously wash your hands, especially during the peak of the season. You must remember that this is a very hardy virus and is hard to kill. Only bleach can effectively kill the bug that’s left on top of a surface area. It is also highly recommended that if you are infected with the virus to take time off from work or school until three days after the bug has passed. It’s technically illegal to go to work as a food handler when nororvirus symptoms are present. Lawsuits against restaurants that norovirus has been traced back to because of multiple people becoming infected are not uncommon.