Welsh Hilton Hotel linked to 74 cases of norovirus

When I was in high school I had a friend who worked as a maid at a motel. Not the greatest job but she needed to make money to offset schooling costs. She used to tell stories of cleaning up vomit, diarrhea and, um, other stuff.  She couldn’t believe how guests treated the bathrooms – likely figuring the mess wasn’t their problem, someone would clean it up.

According to BBC, a Hilton hotel in Newport (that’s in south east Wales) has been linked to over 70 cases of norovirus and it’s not clear whether messy vomit and diarrhea incidents, or food, are to blame. The outbreak has not only hit guests, but over 20 staff members are ill.

Hilton Worldwide said the wellbeing of guests and staff was of “paramount importance” and it had brought in “stringent” health and safety measures.

Public health officials say the outbreak is not linked to a particular function or event, but the virus was passed by someone originally infected.

Newport council alerted Public Health Wales two days after the first illnesses.

These symptoms are described as “unpleasant but short-lived” and the condition is described as not serious unless a patient is already in a vulnerable group.

Control measures have been put in place at the hotel to prevent the spread of the infection.

“Investigations carried out by Newport City Council’s environmental health team indicate that the illness was consistent with a viral infection passed from person to person, most likely norovirus,” said Dr Lika Nehaul, a consultant in communicable disease control with Public Health Wales.

Having norovirus sucks. The mighty little virus gives an affected individual nasty cramps, violent vomiting and in some cases violent diarrhea. With each expulsion of bodily fluids billions of virus particles are spread throughout a bathroom. Or in some cases, throughout a public area (like a walkway or plane). Who knows what happened here but if the outbreak is linked to one initial ill individual (with single or multiple incidents) the cleaning and sanitizing of common areas may be a factor. It’s possible that improper infection control practices, and staff who are attempting to clean, spread particles throughout the hotel. Or staff became the vectors themselves.