PEORIA COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria County Health Department announced that it has begun to monitor the number of norovirus cases across the midwest and the county Friday.

According to a press release, outbreaks of norovirus have been increasing across the country.

These outbreaks are responsible for about half of all reported outbreaks of gastroenteritis with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain.

It is considered highly contagious and can spread through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces.

Symptoms typically last two to three days, and while there is no specific treatment or vaccine, infected people should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid, nutrients, and minerals.

The Peoria County Health Department encourages people to prevent the spread of norovirus by taking these steps:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, especially after toileting or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer along with washing. 
  • Clean and disinfect food preparation surfaces with a one-part bleach and nine-part water solution (1:10 dilution recommended). 
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables. 
  • Thoroughly cook shellfish (such as oysters.)
  • Avoid preparing food for others while sick and for two days after symptoms stop.
  • Stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.

More information is available on the Peoria County Health Department’s website.