Cates SC, Kosa KM, Brophy JE, Hall A, Fraser A. Consumer education needed on norovirus prevention and control: findings from a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults. J Food Prot. 2015 Mar;78(3):484-90. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-313.

Noroviruses (NoVs) are the leading cause of foodborne disease in the United States; however, little is known about consumers' knowledge of NoV infection and their understanding of how to prevent and control associated illness. A nationally representative Web-enabled panel survey of U.S. adults (n = 1,051) was conducted to collect information on consumers' awareness and knowledge of NoVs. Respondents who had heard of NoVs were asked 22 true-and-false questions on the transmission, prevention, and control of NoVs. Forty-seven percent of respondents reported awareness of NoVs, and 85% of respondents had heard of the terms "cruise ship virus," "the stomach bug," or "the stomach flu," which are commonly used to describe NoVs. Of those respondents who had previously heard of NoV or other terms used by consumers to describe NoV (n = 948), 36% correctly answered 11 or more of the 22 true-and-false questions, suggesting that consumers have limited knowledge on how to prevent and control NoV infection. Most consumers do not understand that the primary mode of transmission for NoV infection is fecal to oral, and many have the misperception that meat and poultry are sources of NoV infection. There is the need to educate consumers about how to prevent and control NoV infection. Although there is a proliferation of food safety education materials available, most focus on foodborne bacteria rather than viruses. The survey results will be used to revise existing consumer food safety educational materials to include information on NoV prevention and control.

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