RadCon’s norovirus outbreak not so rad

I don’t know exactly what RadCon is, (it makes me think of the fanboy scenes from Kevin Smith’s finest work, Chasing Amy) but it sounds, uh, rad. The gathering of Sci-Fi fans held in Pasco, WA, had gonzo movie making, a zombie nerd shoot and, less rad, a norovirus outbreak.

According to KVEWTV and TriCityNews Tribune, 40-50 of the 2000 attendees came down with norovirus.

Samples from ill attendees tested positive for norovirus, Benton-Franklin Health District officials said Friday. Some of RadCon’s more than 2,000 attendees complained of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and came down with the symptoms and recovered rapidly.

One of the ill attendees, Laurel Anne Hill, commented on the TriCity Herald website about some of the discomfort:

"My husband and I weren’t hit with the disaster until we reached our home in California on Monday evening.  At least we could share our misery in a multi-toilet residence.  If the bug turns out to be a Norovirus, I suspect it tagged us together on Sunday around dinnertime, when we were together and not in our room.  I think Norovirus can survive for 24 hours on surfaces and resist some sanitizing agents.  Did it wait for us on an elevator button or on that table in the bar?  David is fine now.  Alas, I’m not."

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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.