17 new cases of Norovirus at the Winter Olympics

There’s a reason why people panic when they hear norovirus. It is extremely contagious and difficult to control. I’ve had it and the plethora of pain that accompanies it is not pleasant.

IOL reports:

Norovirus cases at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have risen to nearly 200, organisers said on Monday, despite an intense battle to contain the outbreak.
Seventeen new cases have taken the total to 194, although 147 of those affected have already been released from quarantine, they said.
About 1,200 security guards were quarantined and replaced by hundreds of soldiers when the highly contagious bug first came to light last week.
Officials say they are doing everything they can to stop more people getting the virus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting and can be spread by contaminated food and water.
Any illness spreading to the competitors would be a major embarrassment to hosts South Korea.

Norovirus-contaminated raspberries likely caused deaths, sickened hundreds, in Quebec last summer

Frozen raspberries imported from China made hundreds of people sick in Quebec last summer and probably resulted in multiple deaths, according to a recent public health report. 

The infected fruits led to a wave of recalls in August 2017 by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency because they had been used by a variety of food processors such as brewers, pastry chefs and ice cream makers and had been cooked in hospital cafeterias and residences for seniors.

The raspberries were contaminated by Norovirus. At least 724 Quebecers fell ill, a number that may represent just “the tip of the iceberg” 

According to Dr. Yves Jalbert, director of public health protection at the Quebec health ministry, it is clear that there were deaths over this period. No specific number has been given. Public health officials in Quebec do not track the progress of each infected patient. 

Norovirus strikes white Olympics

More than 1,200 security guards have been withdrawn from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics because of a norovirus outbreak, organisers said on Monday. Out of the group, 41 suffered a sudden onset of vomiting and diarrhoea on Sunday. They were transferred to hospital and most were diagnosed with a norovirus infection.

“The 1,200-odd people were pulled out from their duties,” an official of the Pyeongchang Olympic Organizing Committee was quoted as saying by AFP. “They were replaced by some 900 military soldiers. Health authorities were investigating the origin of the virus,” he said.

200 hit by noro on Sea Princess cruise ship docking in Brisbane

Jorge Branco of the Brisbane Times reports gastro has hit about 200 passengers on board a cruise ship docking in Brisbane on Thursday morning.

The Sea Princess was returning from a two-week trip to New Zealand, which saw as much as seven per cent of those on board struck down with norovirus.

Efforts were made to contain the outbreak, with further cleaning expected once passengers departed the 260-metre cruise ship at Hamilton’s Portside Wharf.

A Princess Cruises spokesman said the cleaning measures would delay the ship’s departure with a fresh crew of passengers on the same route later on Thursday.

The cruise saw an “elevated number” of guests suffering norovirus-induced gastro, he said.

Noro suspected: 15 concert-goers in NZ hospitalized

Fifteen people are in Gisborne Hospital with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, after attending Rhythm and Vines.

Local health authorities warn the symptoms look like norovirus, and some festival-goers may need to be isolated to stop a full outbreak.

Medical officer of health Dr Bruce Duncan said they needed to stop any further contamination.

“Fifteen young people were transported [this morning] to Gisborne Hospital, where an isolation ward has been set up.

“The priority is avoiding an outbreak. Norovirus has not been confirmed, but it remains a possibility.

“With thousands of people in close proximity, it was a priority to do all we can to prevent a mass outbreak.

“At this stage, this appears to have been successful.”

Norovirus sickens 70 at Kyoto hot springs inn

The Japan Times reports that in an apparent case of food poisoning earlier this month, 70 people came down with symptoms after eating at a hot springs inn in Kyoto and eight were found to be infected by the norovirus, the Kyoto Prefectural Government said Saturday.

The Kyoto Prefectural Government ordered the inn to suspend business for three days starting Saturday. None of the 70, who complained of vomiting and diarrhea, is in serious condition.

Local authorities believe the virus originated from an employee.

Cruising with noro and C. perfringens

More than 300 passengers on a cruise ship that docked at Port Everglades, Florida, fell ill with a stomach virus.

The Naples Daily News reports that the Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited’s ship Independence Of The Seas docked Saturday in Florida reported 332 cases of gastro-intestinal illness among the 5,547 guests.

It was the second time in less than a month that illness hit passengers on one of the cruise line’s vessels.

The 5-night cruise was interrupted for those passengers, who had symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. One passenger, Victoria Nolan, described people throwing up in elevators.

Tracy Flores, a passenger, said her teen son, who is diabetic contracted the illness while on board.

“We brought him Wednesday night we wheeled him in, they already had a full waiting room and as we were sitting there, more wheelchairs were coming in, more wheelchairs were coming,” Flores told WPLG-TV. “Everybody was puking, everywhere they were leaving to go use the bathroom with diarrhea and it was just frightening.”

This follows an outbreak involving 100s of passengers aboard Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas cruise ship that were stricken with Norovirus on a recent cruise from Singapore to Hobart, Tasmania in Australia. The Ovation of the Seas has a capacity of 5,000 passengers and 1500 in crew members – making it the world’s fourth largest cruise ship and the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Australian waters.

And in something completely different – except for the cruise ship commonality — Outbreak News Today reports that Clostridium perfringens was the cause of an outbreak that sickened over 200 in Nov. 2017 aboard the Princess Cruises vessel Crown Princess.

Norovirus sickens 60 students at NC State; kindergarten in China

In an update to the North Carolina State University norovirus outbreak, about 60 students are experiencing symptoms.

For me it was for one night and that night it was like the apocalypse, honestly. It was, ugh, really bad,” said Astri Sundstroem, a graduate student who battled the virus this week.

Most of the affected students, including Sundstroem and senior Linda Astrom, live in the Alexander residence hall.

“It was really bad. It was very intense for like just a few hours. Everything broke out. It was crazy. Everyone was really sick,” Astrom said.

To demonstrate how infectious norovirus can be, Zhang et al. report in the current International Journal of Infectious Diseases – recommended bath time reading – that noroviruses are a common cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks in institutions including schools and kindergartens around the world.

An outbreak caused by GII.P16-GII.2 norovirus in a kindergarten in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China is reported here. An epidemiological investigation was conducted, and pathogen detection was performed. The descriptive analysis indicated that this outbreak in middle class 1 had a point source. Twenty cases of acute gastroenteritis occurred in this class within a period of 8.5 h; the attack rate was 52.6% (20/38). Airborne transmission via the air conditioning unit in a confined restroom could have played a critical role in this outbreak. Sequence analysis of GII-positive samples confirmed that the norovirus GII.P16-GII.2 variant was the etiological agent of this outbreak.

An acute gastroenteritis outbreak caused by GII.P16-GII.2 norovirus associated with airborne transmission via the air conditioning unit in a kindergarten in Lianyungang, China

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, December 2017, vol 65, pages 81-84,Ting-lu Zhang, Jing Lu, Liang Ying, Xiao-lu Zhu, Lian-hao Zhao, Meng-ying Zhou, Jia-long Wang, Guo-cai Chen, Lei Xu, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2017.10.003

http://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(17)30259-X/fulltext

50+sick: Norovirus in Sweden water

(Something may be lost in translation)

Thanks to our Swedish correspondent who forwarded the stories about a norovirus outbreak in Saxdalen linked to drinking water.

Anders Lindblom, Disease Prevention Officer in Dalarna, said, “Probably the cause of the stomach disorder in the Saxdalen winter calf virus (calicivirus). The virus that causes winter rheumatoid arthritis is highly contagious and spreads apart from water and food, even from person to person.”

It’s norovirus. But different countries call it different things.

Our correspondent adds, “In Saxdalen in middle Sweden, the drinking water is contaminated with norovirus. The contamination source is probably poorly maintained sewage pipe system. So far is at least 50 people (10% of the population) infected.”

Media reports note, “The stool sample we received indicates that it is calicivirus and unfortunately it will take some time to get the water approved,” says Göran Eriksson, environmental manager in Ludvika municipality.

“He tells us that the cause of the pollution is probably that a drainage pipe in very bad condition polluted the soil at a place where a drinking water pipeline had previously broken.

“Ludvika municipality still recommends people living in Saxdalen to boil the water you plan to drink and cook with.”

Probably Norovirus: At least 35 sickened at Michigan restaurant

Rachel Greco of the Lansing State Journal reports at least 35 people have reported getting sick after eating at downtown Grand Ledge restaurant The Log Jam in the last two weeks, according to public health officials.

The West Jefferson Street restaurant closed Monday, six days after the first eight illness complaints were reported to the health department on Nov. 22, said Abigail Lynch, a spokesperson for the Barry-Eaton County Health Department.

Those Log Jam customers reported eating there Nov. 19, she said.

Lynch said callers reported norovirus symptoms, which include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting. She said health department staff suspect a norovirus outbreak, but are awaiting test results to confirm it.

The Nov. 22 reports did not prompt the restaurant to close or for the health department to issue a public statement about the suspected outbreak, Lynch said, because the health department didn’t believe there was “an ongoing threat to public health.”

Lynch said department staff visited the restaurant Nov. 22, and staff there cleaned the interior of the eatery with bleach, threw out any prepared food and emphasized hand washing practices with employees.

Since Nov. 22 at least 27 additional reports of illness have been made by Log Jam customers to the health department, Lynch said. Most of those people reported eating at the restaurant Nov. 25 and reports were still coming in, she said. 

“Based on that, when we left on (Nov. 22) we felt we had put proper interventions in place to prevent further illness,” Lynch said. “This just happened to be one of those instances where it wasn’t.”

Lynch said the restaurant was closed Nov. 27 for another cleaning that was supervised by health department staff, and re-opened the next day. She said all of the restaurant’s prepared foods were thrown out and employees were informed again about the importance of hand washing.

A person who answered the phone at The Log Jam Wednesday morning declined to comment on the suspected outbreak and referred all questions to the health department. 

A Nov. 27 post on The Log Jam’s Facebook page reads, “It seems that there has been an outbreak of a viral gastroenteritis in the community. We have consulted with the health department and they confirmed that this very contagious virus has made some people very ill in our town…Since our water heater went up in flames, and we had to close for repairs, we took full advantage of our down time to disinfect every square inch of our facility.”