Pitt/Carteret Counties -

The virus most people associate with cruise ships has made landfall right in our back yard.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health, Norovirus reports are widespread across North Carolina.

Several cases were found in both Pitt and Carteret Counties. Twenty patients at a Carteret long term care facility became ill and were hospitalized.

Symptoms of Norovirus can last up to two days. It is mostly spread from person to person and through contaminated food.

To avoid picking up the virus, you should wash your hands frequently with soap and water and dry with a clean towel.

Doctors say hand sanitizer gels are not effective against Norovirus.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

If you have any of these symptoms, the CDC advises that you stay home when you are sick.

Do not prepare food for others to eat while you are sick and for at least 48 hours after that.

Once your symptoms are gone, continue to be careful and wash your hands frequently.

People can spread the virus for days and sometimes weeks after their illness ends.