Norovirus season appears to be here

I’ve always loved the UK term for norovirus: winter vomiting virus. It’s so perfect and descriptive. Norovirus is great, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.  Seeing that it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, parts of Canada and the US are burried under snow and ice, it’s about time for the increase of norovirus stories we seem to have every year. 

This week we’ve seen stories on the classic norovirus scenarios: cruise ships and university settings.

It was reported that Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America ship was the site of an outbreak with 67 passengers and 14 crew members becoming ill.  In some fantastic writing on, staff writer Curtis Cartier reported on an outbreak of noro amongst 58 staff at students at UC Santa Cruz.  Carteir writes: 

Some students, like Zack Mikalonis, initially suspected nasty meatball subs as the culprit.
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, Mikalonis ate at UCSC’s Porter Dining Hall. Though he says he’s learned to steer clear of burritos, sub sandwiches are fair game. But less than 24 hours after chowing down on the hero, he found himself face down in a toilet bowl.
“I woke up around 4:30am throwing up and having horrible diarrhea,” he says. “A bunch of other kids on my floor got sick too. I had a big quiz the next day that I had to miss.”


This week’s food safety infosheet is all about noro.

A couple of months ago Mayra and I came up with our take on cleaning up potentially noro-laced vomit if it hits your locale.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.