How is viral gastroenteritis virus transmitted from person to person?

Viral gastroenteritis is highly contagious. The viruses are commonly transmitted by people with unwashed hands. People can get the viruses through close contact with infected individuals by sharing their food, drink, or eating utensils or by eating food or drinking beverages that are contaminated with the virus. Noroviruses, in particular, are typically spread through contact with the stool or vomit of infected people and through contaminated water or food?especially oysters from contaminated waters.

People who no longer have symptoms may still be contagious, since the virus can be found in their stool for up to two weeks after they recover from their illness. Also, people can become infected without having symptoms and can still spread the infection.

Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis can occur in households, child care settings, schools, nursing homes, cruise ships, camps, dormitories, restaurants, and other places where people gather in groups. If you suspect that you were exposed to a virus in one of these settings or by foods prepared on the premise of places such as a restaurant, a deli, or a bakery, you may want to contact your local health department, which tracks outbreaks.

This answer is based on source information from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Continue Learning about Digestive Diseases

Good News About Difficult Colon Polyps
Good News About Difficult Colon Polyps
Every year tens of thousands of people face serious colon surgery to remove big polyps before they can morph into colon cancer. Many have part of thei...
Read More
Is an obstetric fistula serious for young girls?
Laura Corio, MDLaura Corio, MD
An obstetric fistula is very serious for a young girl. Thank goodness, in the united states we do no...
More Answers
How should I prepare for my tests to diagnose digestive disease?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Your doctor will discuss preparing for diagnostic procedures with you before your test appointment. ...
More Answers
What Increases My Risk for Digestive Diseases?
What Increases My Risk for Digestive Diseases?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.