A different kind of mile-high club: 12 ill on a flight to LAX

Illnesses happen on planes, and it’s miserable.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 12 passengers on a flight from Fiji to LAX fell ill with vomiting and nausea. Each of the affected flyers reported staying in the same hotel prior to the flight.

Maybe the best plane-related outbreak was one reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases a couple of years ago. I’d describe my poop and barf-related imagination as pretty good but I couldn’t have dreamt up the scenario that unfolded on a plane leaving Boston bound for Los Angeles in October 2008.F97B1678-9288-4E1F-A6DC-5C807461E2CA

Members of [the] tour group experienced diarrhea and vomiting throughout an airplane flight from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, resulting in an emergency diversion 3 h after takeoff.

The problematic flight departed Boston on Oct 8, 2008, heading for Los Angeles and carrying among its passengers 35 members of a leaf-peeping tour group. (Four more members of the group had planned other routes home, while two had been hospitalized in the previous 2 days.)

The outbreak included a passenger with “multiple episodes of diarrhea, with at least 1 occurring in the aisle of the first-class section. The soiled aisle was not cleaned until after completion of the flight.”

British hotel linked to 100 noro illnesses

As Schaffner and a bunch of other food safety folks enjoy the Welsh weather as part of the IAFP European Symposium, a British resort at Cooden Beach is according to the Daily Mail, dealing with a bunch of norovirus.

The owner of a British seaside hotel has apologised after nearly 100 holidaymakers were struck down by what health officials have described as a norovirus outbreak.

Almost everyone who has visited the Cooden Beach Hotel in the last two weeks has come down with vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of the highly-contagious airborne bug.

A Rother District Council spokesperson said it is believed that 100 people have been affected by the so-called ‘winter vomiting bug’ at the hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Owner James Kimber has issued an apology to guests and staff, and has vowed to steam clean the entire guest house to prevent additional cases.

A sign posted on the door of the hotel, where guests enjoy sweeping views of the English Channel, warns visitors about an ‘airborne virus’ at the premises.
Airborne? Sort of. Spread through the air, definitely (see the vomit modeling machine from Grace Tung, below). Steam cleaning might not do much. CDC suggests using chlorine-based sanitizers.

Best Western goes high-tech to clean

When I think Best Western, I think free wi-fi.

Maybe I should be thinking, cleaner rooms.

There’s a certain snobbery about hotel rooms similar to restaurants: dives are dirty, fancy ones are clean.

Decades of restaurant inspection data show bacteria and other bugs don’t discriminate; they’re equal-opportunity contaminants. Data from hotels is starting to show the same (don’t let the bed bugs bite).

The best thing about Best Western is they’re marketing cleanliness. Just like food providers should be doing.

USA Today reports Best Western Hotels, in response to what it says is travelers’ insistence on cleanliness, is equipping its housekeeping crews with black lights to detect biological matter otherwise unseen by the human eye, and ultraviolet light wands to zap it.

For possibly the dirtiest object in your room — the TV remote control — there will be disposable wraps.

Best Western says it’s taking the steps partly because research from Booz & Company shows that travelers desire a hotel’s cleanliness over customer service, style and design.

But it’s also reacting to the times, in which hotels and supermarkets place hand sanitizer in visible places for germ-obsessed customers (Australia, you paying attention yet?).

People also have become more skeptical about cleanliness because of headlines about E. coli, norovirus and bird flu, says Ron Pohl, a Best Western vice president.

Aussie hotel staff fed up with Valentine’s stains

Valentine’s Day is a time for love, but Melbourne hotel workers say they are fed up with cleaning rooms covered in fruits, chocolates and other things.

"For us, Valentine’s Day means flower petals scattered all over the floors, spilt champagne everywhere and some very questionable stains all over the beds, but no extra time to clean," said one Hilton Hotel room attendant.

"We see exotic fruits and chocolates ground into the carpets, bubble bath all over the bathroom and massage oils all over the bed. And don’t even ask me about the whipped cream.”

The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) has planned a protest outside the Hilton South Wharf Hotel in Melbourne, where they will be handing out cleaning wipes and asking for a hand.

The union said cleaners get as little as 15 minutes to tidy a room, a job staff say requires about 45 minutes to do properly.

Melbourne was in the grip of a hygiene crisis because of the insufficient cleaning time, which was putting guests’ health at risk, the LHMU said.

Hilton South Wharf general manager Michael Bourne said the LHMU had been making allegations concerning the hotel for quite a while, but had refused to discuss the claims.

Salmonella in chicken or norovirus? 80 sickened, Costa Rica hotel closed

An ongoing inspection in the Hotel Barceló Playa Tambor has revealed traces of salmonella in the hotel’s chicken.

The Tico Times in San Jose, Costa Rica, reports the hotel was closed on Dec. 26 after 80 hotel guests reported gastrointestinal problems. According to Health Minister María Luisa Avila, salmonella was not detected in any of the patients, but they were determined to have the norovirus. The hotel will remain closed through the weekend and investigations will resume Monday.

Charlie Sheen take note: Former England star Gazza trashes hotel room with vomit and chicken curry

Forget Charlie Sheen; the Brits know how to properly trash a hotel room

Former England football legend Paul Gascoigne has booked himself into a Dorset rehab clinic after trashing a hotel room. According to a source at Gateshead’s Newcastle South Premier Inn, staff were horrified to find Gazza’s room covered in vomit and chicken curry. The former Newcastle and Spurs player drunkenly wrecked the room just two days after an arrest for suspected cocaine possession.

As well as curry and vomit on the room’s desk, television, floor and walls, staff found cigarette butts in the bed and ash piled in a corner. Allegedly, Gascoigne had been drinking in a pub before he called a taxi to take him back to the Premier Inn. On the way he asked the driver if he could borrow money to purchase more drink at a supermarket.

Another hotel guest reportedly saw Gazza at 8.30 on the Saturday morning still inebriated. The guest described the fallen football hero staggering into the fire exit and hitting his head on a window. Hotel staff then alleviated Gazza of his room key and dialled 999 for an ambulance.