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.

Gross: Family encounters vomit on a plane

Illness happens on planes, and when it does it’s miserable.

In 2009 I dealt with campylobacteriosis over a day of travel from Manhattan (Kansas) to Raleigh. In 2013, then four-year-old Jack yacked on a flight which led to a fascinating approach by Delta Airlines involving plastic bags to contain the risk and coffee pods to manage the smell. The flight crew let us off the plane first (although we were in the second-to-last row) as we potentially inoculated the plane and passengers with norovirus.6a00d834e06b8c69e200e54f7819da8834-800wi

According to MyFoxOrlando, the Shirley family encountered a bunch of vomit on a United flight to DC – and maybe their own norovirus inoculation event.

Scott Shirley had boarded a United Airlines flight with his wife and son when the trio noticed an unusual smell after placing their carry-on bags underneath their seats. After realizing their bags were damp, the family recognized the odor as vomit.

“She [Shirley’s wife] reached down and rubbed the ground and goes “the whole ground is wet,” and then she put it to her nose and goes “Oh my god! This is throw up,” Shirley explained to WUSA9.

Shirley says his wife (who ironically, works for FDA -ben) suffers from mysophobia – fear of germs– and she immediately began crying she was so upset. The airline did acknowledge that a passenger seated in that area had become sick on an earlier flight but the family was told it had been cleaned by the cabin crew.

“It was clear that no one had cleaned the area where we were sitting, because there was no evidence of any chemical smell what so ever. This was purely that distinct smell of vomit on our hands and backpacks,” Shirley told the Daily Mail.

CDC recommends using a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1000–5000 ppm to clean and disinfect an area where someone has vomited. Hard to do that on a plane with all the carpet.

Ohio high school prom linked to norovirus outbreak

In 1997, Dani and I went to prom (below, exactly as shown). The theme was a classic: ‘Under the Sea.’ The venue was filled with bubble decorations, fish and blue streamers.

But no norovirus.FullSizeRender

According to the Chillicothe Gazette, students attending the Zane Trace High School prom last weekend weren’t that lucky; 22 have symptoms consistent with norovirus.

According to Health District spokesman Rami Yoakum, calls began coming into the health district Monday from parents reporting sick children. Thus far, 22 illnesses are believed to be part of the same outbreak, 18 of whom are Zane Trace students.

Kathy Wakefield, director of Public Health Nursing at the health district, said officials believe a norovirus is the culprit.

The health district has been working with the school, advising officials to clean school surfaces, and has also sent letters home to parents describing symptoms and asking them to keep sick children at home and away from sporting events.

Specimens were collected and sent to the state lab in Reynoldsburg. If the results in each case come back all looking similar, the Health District will likely be able to trace back to the source of the contamination, Yoakum said. Presently, health officials feel they have a good idea where the illness may have originated, but don’t want to publicly speculate until until the results from the tests come back and they are sure.

 

From the rerun files: norovirus hits cruise ships

I’ve never been on a cruise. Sometimes we talk about taking one, hopping from island to island and relaxing on the open seas.

And then comes another round of norovirus outbreaks. Lots of news coverage, throwbacks to the poop cruises and pictures of the CDC Vessel Sanitation program officials boarding ships.

Restaurants are linked to 64 per cent of norovirus outbreaks. CDC says that cruise ships get a lot of the attention but onlyaccount for only about 1 per cent of norovirus outbreaks. But not everyone goes on a cruise. In 2013, according to the Florida-Carribean Cruise Association 11.7 million North Americans (out of a total of ~530 million residents) went on cruises.Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 10.46.44 PM

It’s a numbers game: one per cent of the outbreaks happen in a setting that just two per cent of the population visit. Like Schaffner says, what’s the Crusies ?

But norovirus is everywhere. But being stuck on a ship with projectile vomiting doesn’t sound fun. According to the Guardian, two separate Royal Caribbean ships are experiencing outbreaks and are on their way back to San Diego.

Health officials are investigating what caused the outbreaks aboard the ships bound for California, both owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited. The ships docked on Monday and Tuesday in San Diego.

Celebrity Cruises reported 106 sick passengers on board the Celebrity Infinity, which arrived on Monday in California. The ill vacationers accounted for 5% of the 2,117 travelers on board. Six of the more than 900 crew members were also sick.

Epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control are investigating the outbreak, and collected eight stool samples on board. Crews are tightening sanitation and disinfection procedures. 

Crew members are planning a “staged disembarkation” to avoid exposing healthy passengers to sick ones, potentially contaminating them with the infectious stomach virus.

100 sick onboard Celebrity cruise ship

Up to 100 passengers have are being reported as sick from a possible Norovirus outbreak onboard the Celebrity Infinity.

vomit cruiseAccording to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) 95 out of 2,117 passengers along with 5 crew members have been reported sick from gastrointestinal illness. The CDC has not yet confirmed that it’s Norovirus but in most outbreaks onboard it usually is. Passengers and crew have been having vomiting and diarrhea.

The CDC has also stated that 8 stool specimens from passenger and crew have been collected for testing. A CDC Vessel Sanitation Program environmental health officer and one epidemiologist are to board the 91,000 gross ton ship once it arrives in San Diego, CA on April 13. The Celebrity Infinity began the voyage on March 29th from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a 15 night Panama Canal cruise.

It’s Norovirus and 100 sick: Toby Carvery Exeter recloses today due to “technical difficulties”

A city pub and restaurant has reclosed, two days after an outbreak of norovirus was confirmed as the cause of it temporarily shutting.

sorry-technical-difficulties-600x337In excess of 100 people are thought to have been affected by the outbreak at Toby’s Carvery at the Exeter Arms, Middlemoor.

The Exeter Arms remains closed.

A spokesperson for the chain confirmed this morning that Toby Carvery re-closed today due to “technical difficulties” – no further details were given.

Can humans get Norovirus from their dogs?

Human norovirus may infect our canine companions, according to research published online April 1 in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

sadie.dog.powellThat raises the possibility of dog-to-human transmission, said first author Sarah Caddy, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS, a veterinarian and PhD student at the University of Cambridge, and Imperial College, London, UK. Norovirus is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The research showed that some dogs can mount an immune response to human norovirus, said Caddy, who will be a junior research fellow at the University of Cambridge, beginning in August. “This strongly suggests that these dogs have been infected with the virus. We also confirmed that that human norovirus can bind to the cells of the canine gut, which is the first step required for infection of cells.”

Caddy and collaborators performed the latter research using non-infectious human norovirus particles, which consist solely of the virus’ outer protein, called the capsid. The capsid is the part of the virus that binds to host cells. By itself, it is non-infectious because it lacks genetic material. (The non-infectious capsid is the basis for a new norovirus vaccine which is being tested in clinical trials, said Caddy).

Nonetheless, it is not clear just how much of a problem canine infection and transmission may represent for humans, said Caddy. Despite dogs’ apparent susceptibility, the investigators failed to find norovirus in canine stool samples, including those from dogs with diarrhea. They found it in serum samples of only about one seventh of 325 dogs tested.

Additionally, it is not yet known whether human norovirus can cause clinical disease in dogs Assuming that dogs become infected with human norovirus as per this study, it also remains unknown whether they could shed the virus in quantities sufficient to infect humans—although clinical investigators have estimated that as few as 18 virus particles can cause human infection.

Moreover, it is yet to be determined whether dogs play a role in the epidemiology of some outbreaks of human norovirus. Some of the biggest outbreaks occur in places from which dogs are absent, such as on cruise ships and in hospitals.

Over 100 sick: Probable Norovirus shuts Toby Carvery in UK

I never knew what a carvery was until I went to the UK in 2010 with Amy and a young Sorenne.

We visited my great-uncle Keith in Newport, Wales, and I drove us to the carvery for lunch, and almost killed us because they drive on the wrong side of the road in the UK and those menacing traffic circles.

long.fin.tuna.apr.15We ate at a carvery the other night while taking a couple of days at the beach: worst meal we ever had, but the line-dancing display by the retirees at Coolangatta was awesome.

This dude (right, exactly as shown) went with a buddy in a plastic kayak to go snorkeling at Cook Island, decided to put his line out on the way (no rod, just a line), and within 10 minutes landed this long-fined tuna off the beach at Fingal Head.

He said sashimi for dinner, frozen steaks for later.

I said, better get that thing on ice.

And then I thought Amy would kill us driving back through Mt. Tamborine. There’s so much within 100km of Brisbane.

A suspected outbreak of norovirus at a popular city pub and restaurant is believed to have affected large numbers of people across the city as well as visitors and holidaymakers.

The Echo has been inundated with reports from people, including children, the elderly and an eight month pregnant woman, claiming to have visited Toby Carvery at the Exeter Arms in Rydon Lane, Middlemoor, between Monday, March 30, and Easter Sunday, April 5, and since becoming ill with sickness and diarrhea for several days.

It is thought the number of people who may have been affected could be in excess of 100.

The restaurant and hotel temporarily closed on Tuesday, April 7, after an investigation led by Environmental Health was launched.

Concerns have also been expressed that the venue failed to close sooner and remained open over the Easter weekend.

amy.mt.tamborine.apr.15A spokesman for Toby Carvery confirmed to the Echo that on Wednesday, April 1, staff became aware that a customer had been suffering from norovirus – the most common stomach bug in the UK.

The spokesman confirmed that a steam clean was subsequently carried out in the restaurant and pub on Thursday after it closed, but normal trading continued over the Easter bank holiday – one of the busiest trading periods of the year.

The spokesman confirmed that on becoming aware of the threat, restaurant officials contacted the Environmental Health department at Exeter City Council, and an officer who visited on Thursday said the restaurant had followed correct safety procedures and could continue to trade.

Environmental Health officers subsequently returned to the restaurant and pub on Tuesday, April 7, after which the restaurant issued a statement on its website announcing the voluntary closure of the restaurant and adjoining hotel until further notice.

Of those affected, one person claimed to have required hospitalisation and countless others reported battling with unpleasant sickness and diarrhoea for many days.

Around 24 staff members at an animal shelter on the outskirts of the city claim to have become ill following a staff meal at the restaurant on March 31, leaving them operating the charity with worrying low staffing numbers.

Will Jennings, from Budleigh Salterton, said he visited The Exeter Arms on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 1, and by the following evening had started to vomit violently every 10 minutes for several hours.

Mr Jennings said he has suffered with a rare autoimmune disease called Behçets Syndrome with neurological involvement for two years and, similar to the elderly and very young, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of any illness, infection or virus which can be a case of “life or death” for him.

He said he had been left “very frail” by the sickness and three more of his party of six were also taken ill with the same symptoms.

Following medical advice, he said he was rushed to hospital by ambulance in a very poorly, semi-conscious state.

“I was suffering substantial pain and dehydration,” he recalled. “I was treated with intravenous fluids, anti sickness and morphine for pain relief.”

Can norovirus get into plants? Apparently, yes

Human norovirus (NoV) is the leading cause of foodborne disease in the United States, and epidemiological studies have shown that fresh produce is one of the major vehicles for the transmission of human NoV. However, the mechanisms of norovirus contamination and persistence in fresh produce are poorly understood.

sorenne.strawberry.13The objective of this study is to determine whether human NoV surrogates, murine norovirus (MNV-1) and Tulane virus (TV), can attach and become internalized and disseminated in strawberries grown in soil.

The soil of growing strawberry plants was inoculated with MNV-1 and TV at a level of 108 PFU/plant. Leaves and berries were harvested over a 14-day period, and the viral titer was determined by plaque assay. Over the course of the study, 31.6% of the strawberries contained internalized MNV-1, with an average titer of 0.81 ± 0.33 log10 PFU/g. In comparison, 37.5% of strawberries were positive for infectious TV, with an average titer of 1.83 ± 0.22 log10 PFU/g. A higher percentage (78.7%) of strawberries were positive for TV RNA, with an average titer of 3.15 ± 0.51 log10 RNA copies/g as determined by real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR).

In contrast, no or little virus internalization and dissemination were detected when TV was inoculated into bell peppers grown in soil.

strawberryCollectively, these data demonstrate (i) virally contaminated soils can lead to the internalization of virus via plant roots and subsequent dissemination to the leaf and fruit portions of growing strawberry plants and (ii) the magnitude of internalization is dependent on the type of virus and plant.

 Evidence of the Internalization of Animal Caliciviruses via the Roots of Growing Strawberry Plants and Dissemination to the Fruit

Applied and Environmental Microbiology, April 2015, Volume 81, Number 8, doi:10.1128/AEM.03867-14

DiCaprio E, Culbertson D, Li J

http://aem.asm.org/content/81/8/2727.abstract?etoc

Katie Overbey: March gastro madness

Katie Overbey, a food science graduate student at NC State who focuses on food safety communication and norovirus writes:

Basketball has been on my mind a lot this past week and I’ve wondered a few times what would happen if a team participating in the NCAA tournament fell victim to norovirus? Today, I got my answer.ncaa-san-diego-st-duke-basketball.jpeg10-620x412

San Diego State men’s basketball players and coaches got a bit more March Madness than they were counting on this past weekend when members of the team came down with GI illnesses before their game against Duke on Sunday. According to Fox Sports, multiple players, as well as the head coach, experienced symptoms, which sounds like norovirus (but wasn’t confirmed).

The trouble began when senior guard Aqeel Quinn came down with what the team thought was a case of food poisoning after eating a turkey sandwich Thursday.

Head athletic trainer Tom Abdenour said he started hearing that others weren’t feeling well by Saturday evening.

“Coach Fisher said he wasn’t feeling well after practice, then … there’s a text from this one, text from that one,” he said. “It was, ‘Wait a second, what’s going on here?'”

Abdenour said Fisher and assistant coach Brian Dutcher needed IVs on Sunday, while several players told him they weren’t feeling well at breakfast.

Abdenour said radio play-by-play announcer Ted Leitner was also battling the bug.

“That’s not fun to deal with that, but that had no impact on how we competed, what we did, how we played,” Fisher said. “That had no bearing on it.”

Intense GI distress of the norovirus variety doesn’t usually leave me in peak physical condition.