The Iowa Department of Public Health reported over the Christmas weekend that there have been eight outbreaks of probable norovirus in five counties in the state. Judi Van Hulzen is a nurse at Marion County Public Health. She says that norovirus is a group of viruses that present much like the flu. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. Van Hulzen notes that the illness usually lasts 24-48 hours, and has no long-term effects. It is, however, very contagious. She says that you can protect yourself and others by washing your hands, especially when preparing food.