Gastroenteritis causing viruses are found in high numbers in the vomit and faeces (poos) of people with the infection.
People become infected when they swallow the virus.
This can happen in several ways:
Usually people can go back to work and children can return to early childhood centres and school once they have been symptom free for 24 hours.
There may be viruses in your faeces for a week or longer, so it is very important to wash your hands thoroughly and dry them after using the toilet and before preparing food.
Viral gastroenteritis is extremely infectious and people can be contagious for a period of time (1-2 hours) before symptoms start.
Some individuals experience no symptoms, but can still be contagious to others.
The virus can also survive on surfaces.
If you are suffering from or caring for others with viral gastroenteritis, you need to pay special attention to hygiene, especially when:
When caring for sick people with gastroenteritis, after using the toilet, or changing a baby's nappy, washing your hands is very important.
The viruses that cause viral gastroenteritis can survive outside the body and live on surfaces contaminated by vomit and/or faeces.
For more information about Viral Gastroenteritis contact your doctor or Health Protection Officer from the Population Health Service
Ph: (07) 838 2569 or toll-free 0800 805 977