Healthy Camping: Norovirus Prevention at Youth Camps
Norovirus is very contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhea. People of all ages can get infected and sick with norovirus. You can get norovirus from:
- Having direct contact with an infected person, such as shaking hands.
- Sharing food or eating utensils with an infected person.
- Consuming contaminated food or water.
- Touching contaminated surfaces then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.
Guidance for preventing norovirus at youth camps
- Establish a pre-camp arrival agreement requiring campers to be free of norovirus symptoms upon arrival; let parents know that they may need to pick up ill campers.
- Instruct campers and staff on how to properly wash their hands; make sure that handwashing facilities have soap, running water, and disposable towels.
Practice Food Safety
- Make sure that campers, staff, and food workers are trained in food safety practices, such as using gloves and utensils when handling or preparing ready-to-eat foods, beverages, or ice.
- Do not allow ill campers, staff, or food workers in food service areas until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have resolved.
- Campers, staff, and food workers should not cook with or consume untreated water.
Clean Up Vomit and Diarrhea Immediately
- After someone vomits or has diarrhea, always thoroughly clean then disinfect the entire area immediately.
- Put on rubber or disposable gloves, and wipe the entire area with paper towels, soap, and hot water.
- Then disinfect the area using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label.
- If no such disinfectant is available, you can use a solution made with 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
- Leave the bleach disinfectant on the affected area for at least 5 minutes.
- Then clean the entire area again with soap and hot water.
Isolate ill campers and staff
- Isolate ill campers and staff from healthy campers and staff.
- Provide separate restrooms and eating areas until at least 48 hours after ill campers and staff symptoms have resolved.
- Campers and staff who are vomiting or have diarrhea should not swim or participate in recreational water activities until at least 1 week after these symptoms have resolved.
What to tell staff, including food workers, about norovirus prevention
- Practice food safety.
- Practice and instruct campers on proper handwashing.
- Make sure ill campers and staff are appropriately isolated, and ensure they use separate restrooms and eating areas until 48 hours after their symptoms resolve.
- Immediately clean then disinfect the entire area after someone vomits or has diarrhea.
What to tell parents and kids about norovirus prevention
- Ill campers may need to be picked up.
- Do not drop off ill campers or campers who have been ill in the last 48 hours.
- Make sure campers:
- Wash their hands often with soap and water.
- Do not share food and drinks with others.
- Practice healthy hygiene.
- Report any illness to camp staff.