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Warning — You’re More Likely to Catch Norovirus at a Restaurant Than on a Cruise

wash your hands sign

When we hear about outbreaks of norovirus, it’s usually an unpleasant story related to a cruise and someone’s ruined vacation. But according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you are more likely to contract norovirus in a restaurant than on a cruise ship.

Norovirus is a potentially deadly, food-borne illness. It presents as a stomach bug that causes diarrhea and vomiting and can spread through contaminated food or from person to person. Twenty million people suffer from the virus every year.

The CDC did the math and found that 64 percent of norovirus outbreaks that occurred between 2009 and 2012 happened in restaurants. As a result, the CDC is calling for stricter adherence to hand-washing policies in restaurants and paid sick days for restaurant employees.

Because infected food workers cause about 70 percent of reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, the CDC says that the food industry can help prevent outbreaks by practicing proper hand-washing techniques, certifying employees in food-safety practices and requiring sick food-service workers to stay home.

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