‘It came with them’ Republican convention staffers test positive for Norovirus

Nearly a dozen Republican staffers who are in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention have tested positive for norovirus, public health officials said Wednesday.

norovirusOhio public health officials confirmed reports from Tuesday that a group of staffers from the California delegation had contracted the virus, according to Stat News.

Those infected with the norovirus were part of the advance team for the California delegation, leading to concerns that the bug may spread.

“It came with them,” Erie County Health Commissioner Peter Schade told Stat News.

But public health officials have taken precautions by quarantining those who were believed to be infected, while warning others who may feel under the weather to stay in their hotels.

Norovirus, you don’t want it: RNC edition

My neighbor told me over the weekend that he’s done with social media until the U.S. election is over, he said that the polarized debates on his Facebook timeline were making him sick.

Sorta like the at least 11 RNC attendees who have, according to Stat News, acquired some norovirus over the past couple of days.

A handful of Republican staff members in Cleveland for the GOP convention were reported to be suffering Tuesday from a possible norovirus infection.

And if there are a few people with norovirus, it’s likely there will be more.10849902_719581291471357_3442145704847569295_n1-300x3001-300x300

As many as 11 members of the California delegation’s advance team are showing symptoms that are consistent with the norovirus, according to Peter Schade, the Erie County health commissioner, who is investigating the outbreak. They are staying at a hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, about an hour from Cleveland.

“We’ve got about 11 who have been sick over the last few days, and we’ve been out there every day and working with them to eliminate the spread [between] the resort and the delegation from California,” Schade said.

The health department is running tests to confirm whether the Republican staff members have norovirus.

Jim Brulte, the California delegation chairman, told STAT in an email that the trouble started when one of the staff members who arrived ahead of the delegation came down with a virus and infected her husband.

Handwashing, excluding the ill folks from the festivities and cleaning and sanitizing with chlorine-based compounds are best management practices.

People say they go to work, even when they shouldn’t

Rae Ellen Bichell of NPR writes that a majority of working adults say they still go to work when they have a cold or the flu. There are some jobs where doing that can have a big effect on health.

sea-sickness1At least half of people who work in very public places, like hospitals and restaurants, report going to work when they have a cold or the flu. Those were among the findings of a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They are some of the last people you’d want to go to work sick, because they tend to have a lot of contact with people. And that helps spread disease.

“It’s one of the biggest food safety problems that there is, and we’ve known about it forever,” says Kirk Smith, who oversees foodborne outbreak investigations with the Minnesota Department of Health. But he says it’s really hard to get people to stop doing it.

When it comes to food handling, there’s one illness that’s particularly concerning: norovirus. “It is by far the most common cause of foodborne illness,” says Smith. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is responsible for 35 percent of them.

That’s because there are billions of virus particles per gram in stool and vomit. It only takes about 20 of those to get someone sick. And norovirus can hitchhike from surface to surface. It takes a high concentration of bleach to kill it.

“And so it just takes microcontamination of your hands, if you don’t do a perfect job washing, to be able to contaminate food with enough of the virus to infect lots and lots of people,” says Smith.

The same virus has plagued restaurant customers across the country. Last winter, 140 people — including much of the Boston College basketball team — got sick from eating at a Chipotle in Boston where one person had gone to work sick.

“It’s definitely the norm to go into work sick. That’s what I and most of my co-workers usually do,” says Anthony Peeples. He used to work at an Olive Garden restaurant. Now he’s a bartender at a casino in Michigan City, Ind.

The CDC has found that 1 in 5 food service workers has reported working while sick with vomiting and diarrhea.

Depends if you’re in the capital region or NSW: Norovirus outbreak in Australia

Alexandra Back of the Canberra Times reports an isolation ward has been set up at Calvary Hospital and visitors are being discouraged as the hospital works to contain a gastro outbreak.

norovirus-2An intensive care patient was diagnosed with the highly contagious norovirus – that causes fever, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea – Friday last week.

Calvary Hospital chief executive Karen Edwards said there were 16 suspected cases of the virus and the patients were isolated.

The general medical ward 5W has been closed to new admissions and staff movement across the hospital was being restricted.

But one man said his wife, who had a caesarean birth under general anaesthetic two days ago, was rushed out on Thursday, a day early. He was concerned because she was still in a lot of pain.

“My concern is the continuance of care. The whole thing is, there were no options provided, in essence, we’re told they are getting everyone out by 11.30.”

Neighboring NSW Health issued a public health warning after an above average number of people went to emergency with gastro.

ACT Health said viral gastro cases weren’t notifiable in the capital, but the government had not seen a recent spike in cases.

Looks like they picked the wrong week to go to camp: Norovirus outbreak at Christie Lake sends 120 campers home

At least one parent says there’s been a lack of communication between camp officials and parents after it was confirmed all 120 campers at Christie Lake Kids’ first session are being sent home (that’s in Canada).

Christie Lake Kids'A spokesperson confirmed Wednesday about 20 kids fell ill amid what the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says appears to be a norovirus outbreak.

Natalie Benson, director of fundraising and communications at Christie Lake, says some of the kids had to be hospitalized with what appeared to be severe gastrointestinal symptoms.

“It’s really been brought on, not entirely, by the heat,” she said. “When it’s weather like we’re seeing they really have not a lot of places to get cool and to drink lots of fluids so some of them have become dehydrated as well.”

Benson said the camp was working to contact parents and let them know their kids were coming home, but Robin Lacasse, whose daughter and niece are both at Christie Lake, says she only heard about the cancellation through the news and through word of mouth.

“I should’ve been told already,” she said. “If I didn’t have Facebook, or cell phones, and not everybody watches the news. How many kids are going to get off the bus tomorrow without their families?”

Lacasse’s niece was brought to an emergency room at around 3 a.m. Wednesday and had since been sent back to camp to rest.

Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health with the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says norovirus is unique because of how quickly it can spread.

“A very small amount can make an individual sick, which is why it can cause outbreaks,” she says, adding the virus can easily become airborne if one child is vomiting in the vicinity of other kids.

Dr. Stewart says the camp had to close to give staff time to do proper cleaning to have it ready in time for the next session.

Benson says the camp is now working on finding room for the affected children to make sure they can still go to camp this summer.

Surveys are never enough: U.K. Freezer habits edition

Ten years ago, as a bunch of University of Guelph students were barfing in their residence bathrooms with noro, Brae Surgeoner, Doug and I hatched plot to observe hand hygiene practices in situ. We wanted test whether students in the midst of an outbreak would report they were really good at washing their hands or using sanitizer. We guessed that what they said, and what we would see, would be drastically different.IMG_5317

In a self-reported survey, 83 of 100 students said they always followed proper hand hygiene but estimated that less than half of their peers did the same. When we watched them, we saw students following recommended hand hygiene procedures just 17 percent of the time.

Asking people what they know or do is a start. But it’s never enough. People lie, forget or don’t care.

Employing other methods to confirm what they say they do is necessary to confirm actions.

Like using a freezer, according to BBC.

Misconceptions about frozen food are contributing to the seven million tonnes of waste thrown out by UK households every year, the Food Standards Agency says.

Of the 1,500 people it surveyed, 43% wrongly thought food could only be frozen on the day it was bought, suggesting confusion over food safety.

According to the FSA’s research, 38% of people mistakenly thought it was dangerous to refreeze meat after it had been cooked.

Almost a quarter, 23%, said they would never freeze meat that was cooked after defrosting, with 73% of those citing worries about food poisoning.
More than two thirds, 68%, had thrown food away in the past month, mainly bread (36%), fruit (31%), vegetables (31%) and leftover meals (22%).

Households in the UK waste the equivalent of about six meals a week on average, the FSA said.

280 sickened with Norovirus: UK carvery victims a step closer to compensation

Nearly 300 people look set to receive compensation after falling ill as a result of a norovirus outbreak at Exeter’s Toby Carvery.

AppleMark

AppleMark

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing those affected, said they have reached the next stage of their legal battle after restaurant owners Mitchells & Butlers Retail Ltd admitted breach of duty to the group.

This means the company will pay compensation to all clients who can establish that their illness and other related losses, such as lost earnings, were caused through the breach of duty.

A total of 280 people instructed the specialist public health department at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the cause of an illness outbreak over the Easter period in April 2015 during which the restaurant was closed on more than one occasion for deep cleaning.

The law firm has now secured the admission from the company which means victims are one step closer to receiving fair settlements for the illness they suffered, which left many unable to work for a number of days and ruined other customers’ holidays in the area.

It is estimated that total damages for the group action will be over £500,000, though lawyers are still gathering medical evidence.

Those seeking compensation include John Williams, 68, from Bangor, Wales, who was staying at the Exeter Arms on holiday when he fell ill with diarrhoea and sickness. The symptoms he suffered lasted three weeks and ruined his holiday.

He said: “The symptoms I suffered were absolutely horrendous and stayed with me long after I left Exeter and returned home to Wales. It really did take its toll on me.

“I don’t think enough was done to control the outbreak at the pub and the hotel and I hope that the management has learned lessons from what happened last year so this never happens again.

“The Exeter Arms failed to inform me before travelling to the restaurant and hotel that there were problems with illness. My holiday was absolutely ruined and I want to know why more wasn’t done to control the outbreak.”

Mass norovirus food poisoning at Japanese nurse

A mass food poisoning outbreak caused by Norovirus occurred at a nursery school located in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward earlier this month.

norovirus-2According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the norovirus outbreak infected a total of 41 kindergarteners and two nursery school teachers at Yoyogi Nursery School, Fuji TV reported. Over the course of three days from June 6 to 9, the infected children and nursery school staff exhibited symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, and complained of fever as well.

While none of the infected infants and adults were hospitalized, 35 stool samples tested positive for the norovirus. Furthermore, all infected patients consumed the same school meal on June 6, which ward officials said was deep fried chicken, meat and potato stew, and potato salad.

Shibuya Ward suspended the nursery from serving lunches for three days.

Nightmares from camp: Norovirus infects 60 Dutch students on class trip

At least 55 school children from Assen were infected with the Norovirus while on a school trip to a recreation park in Annen, RTV Drenthe reports.

meatballsThe kids are all from primary schools the Marskramer and De Scharmhof. they were visiting the Annen park for a few days.

On Friday about 40 children were suffering from diarrhea, nausea and headaches. Over the weekend another 15 fell sick. GGD doctor Jorien Van Pelt confirmed that they were infected with the highly contagious virus.

Public health service GGD believes that one sick child infected the rest. All children who start showing symptoms are advised to stay at home.

 

Is gastroenteritis just another name for norovirus?

Maybe it is. Maybe not. A Texas town has a bunch of sick people. The health department folks are investigating.

And, according to News West 9, they’ve released a weird consumer-focused message in the absence of linking illnesses together: wash your hands and your produce, especially melons.

Midland health officials are warning residents to wash their hands and their food following a recent increase in infectious gastroenteritis cases.Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 10.36.53 PM

City officials said the best defense against the illness is prevention by effective hand washing with plenty of soap and warm water and washing all vegetables and fruits, including melons.

City of Midland Health & Senior Services officials are interviewing patients within the community to help identify any common source of infection. Interviews that have been conducted to this point have not indicated that the illness is stemming from any particular food establishment.

If health officials believe they are looking at a foodborne norovirus outbreak, CDC has data showing 96% outbreaks are not from homes. Not sure produce washing is an effective risk management step.