In China, visitors to resort have to sign Norovirus waiver

Hundreds of Taiwanese visitors to Taichung’s Hoya Resort Hotel in Wuling have signed an affidavit that they are staying at the resort at their own risk in the midst of an outbreak of norovirus GII.17, a genotype common in certain African nations, reports China Times.

Hoya-Resort-Hotel-Wuling--300x199Over 300 visitors to Hoya Resort Hotel Wuling are still coming for the long holiday weekend.

The outbreak over the Lunar New Year holiday of the norovirus, which causes the rapid onset of vomiting and diarrhea, has affected the health of over 200 visitors and employees at the resort. The virus is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, primarily through contaminated food or water.

After the outbreak began, Hoya Resort Hotel Wuling closed for two days. Visitors wishing to continue their stay were given the option of signing the affidavit absolving the hotel from all responsibility should they contract the virus. In addition, the resort will not provide them with food.

The resort is reportedly fully booked for the coming Feb. 28 weekend. The cherry blossoms in the area which bloom briefly as spring nears are a major visitor attraction.

CDC probing strain of Taiwan Norovirus

Whether last week’s norovirus outbreak in Taichung’s Hoya Resort Hotel Wuling (武陵富野渡假村) was caused by norovirus GII.17 — a genotype common in certain African nations — has not been determined, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

norovirusThe agency made the remarks after a norovirus outbreak at the hotel over the Lunar New Year holiday affected more than 200 guests and employees.

Norovirus infections cause rapid onset of vomiting and diarrhea. The virus is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, primarily via contaminated food or water.

CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said there are many genotypes of norovirus and that local cases last year were caused mostly by GII.4 and GII.6 strains.

“GII.17 genotype was first detected in Taiwan in October 2013, before disappearing shortly later. However, it re-emerged in the nation late last year and has since been the most predominant genotype circulating in the country,” Chuang said.

Chuang said the world’s knowledge about the GII.17 strain’s pathogenicity and level of communicability is still limited, except that it caused a cluster of infections in Africa and Brazil in 2005 and 2006 respectively, and affected a few individuals in the US and Japan in recent years.

15 sick: Norovirus strikes in NZ play area affects 15

At least 15 people have become ill after contracting a virus from the children’s play area of a Tauranga ten pin bowling venue.

tumblr_inline_mk7cmgis031qz4rgpToi Te Ora – Public Health Service medical officer of health Dr Jim Miller said, in a written statement, the service had been notified of cases of norovirus gastroenteritis in at least nine preschool and primary aged children and six adults earlier this month.

He confirmed those affected had picked up the bug from the children’s play area of a Tauranga ten pin bowling venue.

Mr Miller said the virus would most likely have been spread through person-to-person contact after exposure to an ill person.

Toi Te Ora investigated the outbreak and had since given the bowling alley advice on dealing with diarrhoea and vomiting episodes on the premises and effective cleaning, he said.

A request for further information, including the name of the bowling alley, and if any victims had been hospitalised was not answered by the time the Bay of Plenty Times went to print.

120 sick: Tourists at Taiwan afflicted by possible norovirus

About 120 tourists in a central Taiwan tourist spot known for its cherry blossoms reported a diarrhea and vomiting outbreak Monday, which health officials said could be a result of norovirus infection.

Hoya Resort Hotel WulingBoth tourists and staff of the Hoya Resort Hotel Wuling in the Wuling Farm reported norovirus symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and fever, according to the Taichung City Health Bureau.

The hotel has been ordered to stop providing food to guests, the bureau said, adding that it has taken samples to test for the virus.

The hotel said that five of its workers had taken sick leave prior to the outbreak.

Celebrity Cruises Equinox has an outbreak; pathogen unconfirmed

According to CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, the Celebrity Equinox has a bunch of ill folks on it and it will be back in port tomorrow for public health specialists to investigate.

Voyage Dates: February 13 – February 23, 2015

Number of passengers who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of passengers onboard: 95 of 2896 (3.28%)Unknown-9

Number of crew who have reported being ill during the voyage out of total number of crew onboard: 7 of 1209 (0.58%)

Predominant symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea

Causative agent: unknown

Actions: In response to the outbreak, Celebrity Cruises and the crew aboard the ship reported the following actions:

- Increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures according to their outbreak prevention and response plan,

- Making announcements to notify onboard passengers and crew of the outbreak, encourage case reporting, and encourage good hand hygiene,

vomit-cruise1-226x300- Collecting stool specimens from passenger and crew gastrointestinal illness cases for testing by CDC,

- Making twice daily reports of gastrointestinal illness cases to the VSP,

- Sending corporate management public health, hotel, housekeeping team to assist the onboard management with infection control response plan,

- Is consulting with CDC on plans for their comprehensive sanitation procedures in Fort Lauderdale, FL on February 23, 2015, including:

- providing additional cleaning crew to complete a thorough public and accommodation super-sanitization cleaning and disinfection,

- planning staged disembarkation for active cases to limit the opportunity of illness transmission to well guests, and

- planning for sanitation of terminal and transport infection control procedures.

Three CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officers and one epidemiologist will board the ship in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on February 23, 2015 to conduct an environmental health assessment and evaluate the outbreak and response activities. Specimens are being collected and will be tested by CDC to determine the causative agent for this outbreak. 

Norovirus confirmed in PA university outbreak

There’s a lot of norovirus on campuses this time of year. A bunch of Virginia colleges dealt with the pathogen a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like N.C. State did too. According to mcall.com, the virus caused over 150 illnesses at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.

The vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain that affected 154 students at East Stroudsburg University last week was the result of a highly contagious virus, the state Health Department said Thursday.

The Department of Health has determined that there is now enough accumulated evidence to say the recent ESU outbreak is due to norovirus,” department spokesman Wes Culp said.

The illnesses swept through the campus so fast that doctors and medical staffs could not identify its cause with certainty, though doctors did suspect norovirus. The outbreak affected 2.5 percent of ESU students.

Here are some campus-specific food safety infosheets. Click on the pics to download.

UK guests stricken with vomiting bug at Weymouth hotel

Guests at a pair of interconnecting Weymouth seafront hotels were forced to stay in their rooms following an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

norovirus-2A guest at one of the Russell and Prince Regent Hotels on the Esplanade, which are next door to each other and both owned by the holiday chain Daish’s, contracted norovirus and the bug then went on to affect several guests.

The affected guests were isolated to prevent further spread of the illness and were allowed to stay on at the hotels free of charge until they were healthy again, Daish’s said.

It said it informed the local environmental health department to combat the outbreak and the hotels did not have to be closed.

A guest began displaying symptoms on February 7. The last guest affected left the hotel yesterday morning with everyone affected having now returned to health.

The hotel received a deep clean and was disinfected in line with government guidelines to make sure the virus did not spread further.

Duty to tell: ‘We should have been told about Norovirus outbreak’

A man who fell violently ill after contracting Norovirus at a UK seaside hotel says he should have been warned of an outbreak before his stay.

norovirus.elderly womanLeslie Yeaman, 70, took his wife Pauline, 71, to The Grand Hotel in Scarborough for a five- day break earlier this month on a National Holidays trip.

Mrs Yeaman suffers from a low immune system after suffering from cancer three times.

She uses a wheelchair and was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in July.

Mr Yeaman, who fell ill two days into his stay, says the virus could have had potentially fatal consequences for his wife, who also fell ill after they returned to their Kingswood home.

He said: “I lost my sister before Christmas and it was a really traumatic time. We cancelled Christmas and I told Pauline I would take her for a short break.”

The couple checked into the hotel on Monday, January 5, but by Wednesday, Mr Yeaman had become violently ill with sickness and diarrhoea.

He said: “I am a carer for my wife and I couldn’t do anything for her. The next day, we decided to cut our losses.”

He said he endured an agonising drive back to Hull, whereby he spent the next 34 hours in bed ill.

His wife then also became poorly.

Public Health England, which investigated cases of the infection at the hotel, has told the Mail the outbreak was investigated from December 23 until January 19, when it was declared over.

Mr Yeaman says National Holidays should have had a duty of care to inform him and his wife of the outbreak.

He said: “The chemotherapy has destroyed Pauline’s immune system. We never had the chance to cancel. They never said to us there was a virus in the hotel.

“Six other people went home when we did.”

Prevention better than post-op: UK Potters Holiday Resort Norovirus outbreak costs £250,000

An outbreak of the Norovirus winter vomiting bug at a holiday village, which affected over 100 guests, has cost the company at least £250,000.

norovirus-2Potters Resort at Hopton-on-Sea near Great Yarmouth closed on Monday after a number of cases the previous week.

The resort has undergone midweek cleaning and reopened to 750 guests on Friday afternoon.

Potters said the costs were a combination of lost trade and the clean-up operation.

N.C. State ’stomach flu’ outbreak linked to fraternity/sorority event

The amount of norovirus-related news is overwhelming this week. A college in Virginia was closed. A cruise ship returned to port. Outbreaks at Minnesota and U.K. elementary schools.

And, maybe, possibly, an outbreak at N.C. State associated with a fraternity and sorority.

According to The Technician, there are up to 20 students experiencing nasty gastrointestinal illness symptoms following a social function between chapters of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity.10849902_719581291471357_3442145704847569295_n1-300x300

Fred Hartman, the director of public relations at NC State, said the students are exhibiting symptoms that are consistent with the stomach flu, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The sorority hosted an event Sunday night, and the university became aware that students had developed stomach ailments by Monday night, according to Hartman. No new cases were reported as of 5 p.m. Wednedsay.

The severity of the symptoms varied on a case-to-case basis, and many of the students sought treatment off campus.

The Student Health Center posted a notification to its website indicating the stomach flu had appeared on NC State’s campus on Tuesday (what is stomach flu? -ben). According to the post, symptoms of the virus (the stomach flu virus? -ben) include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain/cramping, fever and/or headaches.

The virus is spread by touching contaminated surfaces before touching the mouth, consuming contaminated foods and drinks and coming in direct contact with the stool or vomit of an infected person, according to the post.

Brian Peters, the community director of the Honors Village, made a post in the NCSU Quad/Honors Village Facebook page indicating that there are reports of gastrointestinal illness going around campus, particularly in the Greek community, that is “potentially norovirus.”

Although the word norovirus never appeared in the post from the Student Health Center, the URL link to the page is: healthcenter.ncsu.edu/2015/02/norovirus-campus/.

Leah Arnett, the director of Student Health Services at NC State, deferred comments about the stomach flu outbreak to University Communications.

Justin Hammond, the director of marketing and communications in the office of the Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, said in an email that University Communications is handling all inquiries on this information and deferred comment to Hartman.

Laine Gladstone, the president of NC State’s chapter of AD Pi also declined to comment.

Michael Wallace, the president of NC State’s chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, did not respond to multiple requests for comment by press time.

The Office of Greek Life declined to comment about the situation.

“The university is taking steps to try and help those students and to try and prevent the illness from spreading,” Hartman said.

Encouraging handwashing is a great message. If this outbreak is suspected to be norovirus, based on exposure/symptom timing and other factors, other good messages include: talking about the limitation of popular alcohol-based hand sanitizers (they don’t do much against the non-enveloped virus); keeping ill folks away from food preparation; the limitation of quaternary ammonia-based sanitizers (only chlorine is really effective); and, that the spread potential from a vomit event is about a 25 radius.

Norovirus is kind of special.