Norovirus surrogates are tough to inactivate in cotton and polyester

A couple of years ago Sam, the almost-5-year-old yacked all over the backseat of the van on a car trip. The polyester carpeting and cotton fabric-covered seats smelled for weeks. We even tried to hose the van out, leaving the doors open for a couple of days (and then a frog set up shop in there).

It was most likely motion sickness that led to Sam’s vomit event, but people with noro puke on all sorts of surfaces. My friend Angie Fraser and colleagues at Clemson just published what happens when you try to inactivate norovirus surrogates on different surfaces including polyester and glass.

From the discussion: images

Our results indicated that surface and virus type had a significant influence on RE (that’s recovery efficiency – ben). We found that both FCV and MNV exhibited higher RE when inoculated onto glass than either polyester or cotton. In addition, the recovery of both viruses from cotton was significantly lower than that of polyester. Compared with FCV, MNV exhibited a higher recovery from soft porous surfaces; however, it was only significant for cotton. Previous studies have also document- ed the ability of HuNoV surrogates to be recovered with greater efficiency from hard nonporous surfaces than from soft porous surfaces. Viruses may become more tightly bound to soft porous surfaces due to their ability to absorb the virus-containing media and trap viruses in the subsurface.

Recovery and Disinfection of Two Human Norovirus Surrogates, Feline Calicivirus and Murine Norovirus, from Hard Nonporous and Soft Porous Surfaces

Journal of Food Protection, Number 10, October 2015, pp. 1776-1924, pp. 1842-1850(9)

Yeargin, Thomas; Fraser, Angela; Huang, Guohui; Jiang, Xiuping


Human norovirus is a leading cause of foodborne disease and can be transmitted through many routes, including environmental exposure to fomites. In this study, both the recovery and inactivation of two human norovirus surrogates, feline calicivirus (FCV) and murine norovirus (MNV), on hard nonporous surfaces (glass) and soft porous surfaces (polyester and cotton) were evaluated by both plaque assay and reverse transcription quantitative PCR method. Two disinfectants, sodium hypochlorite (8.25%) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP, at 4.25%) were evaluated for disinfection efficacy. Five coupons per surface type were used to evaluate the recovery of FCV and MNV by sonication and stomaching and the disinfection of each surface type by using 5 ml of disinfectant for a contact time of 5 min. FCV at an initial titer of ca. 7 log PFU/ml was recovered from glass, cotton, and polyester at 6.2, 5.4, and 3.8 log PFU/ml, respectively, compared with 5.5, 5.2, and 4.1 log PFU/ml, respectively, for MNV with an initial titer of ca. 6 log PFU/ml. The use of sodium hypochlorite (5,000 ppm) was able to inactivate both FCV and MNV (3.1 to 5.5 log PFU/ml) below the limit of detection on all three surface types. AHP (2,656 ppm) inactivated FCV (3.1 to 5.5 log PFU/ml) below the limit of detection for all three surface types but achieved minimal inactivation of MNV (0.17 to 1.37 log PFU/ml). Reduction of viral RNA by sodium hypochlorite corresponded to 2.72 to 4.06 log reduction for FCV and 2.07 to 3.04 log reduction for MNV on all three surface types. Reduction of viral RNA by AHP corresponded to 1.89 to 3.4 log reduction for FCV and 0.54 to 0.85 log reduction for MNV. Our results clearly indicate that both virus and surface types significantly influence recovery efficiency and disinfection efficacy. Based on the performance of our proposed testing method, an improvement in virus recovery will be needed to effectively validate virus disinfection of soft porous surfaces.

Czech pub installs vomitorium for patrons

Vomiting in a nightclub bathroom during a big night out has never been so glamorous with one Czech establishment now offering a unique twist on an old feature — a flushing spew bowl.

vomitoriumukReddit user ThangCZ posted a photo of a modern-day spittoon, which are traditionally used to dispose of excess saliva or vomit.

It even comes complete with two handrails for proper steady spew technique and a sign for those who are unsure of how to correctly drunkenly purge their stomach.

The photo attracted hundreds of comments with many pointing out that while spittoons have fallen out of popularity in modern times, they are still commonly seen and used in German frat houses and European establishments.

Spittoons were common features of saloons and taverns in the 20th century, with many built directly into the bar.

Although spittoons were typically used for spitting tobacco, they were also often used by patrons to relieve themselves.

It is often wrongly claimed that rich Romans had rooms called vomitoriums where they could empty their stomach during large feasts. A vomitorium was actually an entrance/exit point in an amphitheatre that could fill the space much quicker.

Watch NFL linebacker Brian Cushing puke an endless stream of vomit

In hockey coaching camp, we’re told, the old school ways of making kids skate until they puke is a no-no.

I agree.

Apparently, the concussion-free National Football League hasn’t gotten that message, as Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing demonstrated at a NFL training camp.

Watch Cushing prove to everyone that he’s only human by puking for nearly a minute during last night’s episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks.

77 sick at Calif. Chipotle

Ventura County health officials say at least 60 customers reported feeling sick after eating at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley last week.

It’s unclear what made the customers ill – test results were pending Monday.

Mike Byrne, food safety supervisor for the Ventura County Environmental Health Division, said the restaurant also sent home 17 employees for being sick, closed the business to clean it for a day and brought in new food before reopening.

Health officials inspected the restaurant at 1263 Simi Town Center Way on Monday.

NBC4 reviewed the restaurant’s health inspection reports on the Environmental Health Division website. Violations posted Monday included:

The premises and/or floors, walls, or ceiling are in an unsanitary condition.

Equipment or utensils are not clean, fully operative and in good repair.

Flying insects observed within the food facility.

Food handlers employed at this facility do not possess a valid food handler card and/or records documenting that food employees possess a valid food handler card are not maintained by the food facility for review as required.

The restroom is unclean or in disrepair.

NBC4 found the restaurant has repeated violations for some of the same issues dating back to January 2015.

Despite the findings, health officials said the Simi Valley Chipotle passed Monday’s inspection and found no major violations.

In a statement to NBC4, Chipotle said: “The safety and well being of our customers is always our highest priority. When we were contacted by customers who reported feeling poorly after visiting our restaurant in Simi Valley, we notified health department officials, immediately began a review of the incident, and have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that it is safe to eat there.”

Calling all norovirus: passenger forced to sit beside vomit on plane

I’ve encountered vomit in public a few times.

A few weeks ago a fellow food safety nerd and I sat on a Seattle train and watched a woman 20 ft away yack on the floor while her partner consoled her. My friend and I figured that we’d get noro just by being there (we didn’t).CMhGalfWUAAnNds

A few years ago my son threw up 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.

According to BBC, a Rynair passenger was forced to sit next to a vomit pile on a flight from Gatwick to London this week.

A 24-year-old was forced to sit in the same aisle as vomit left by a previous passenger on a Ryanair flight from Gatwick to Dublin on Sunday.

Noel O’Hare noticed the smell and mess as soon as he sat down with his friends on the hour and a half flight.220px-Neilyounglandingonwatercover

He told Newsbeat the “unsightly mess” was on the ground mixed in with a bag and tissues.

Ryanair cabin staff told him that because Gatwick isn’t their base and their cleaners are in Dublin, it couldn’t be cleaned up until they arrived back in Ireland.

Spray and aerosolization of vomit particles makes being in that adjacent seat particularly fun.

Red Sox fan vomits on to fans sitting in tier below him during game at Fenway Park

Baseball is incredibly dull.

fever_pitch_300x220But maybe it would be more interesting if someone barfed on you.

A Boston Red Sox fan vomited from the stands onto fans sitting below at a baseball game on Thursday afternoon.

Just after the national anthem had finished playing, the man wretched a stream of puke before his friends could reign him in.

Shocked spectators standing alongside could hardly believe their eyes as the sick rained down on those gathered directly underneath the upper tier at Fenway Park.

The Boston fan drenched unsuspecting fans in vomit at the game against the White Sox.

Despite his friends trying to hold him back as he leant over for seconds, they were not quick enough to hold him back and he was able to lean over the railings.

It wasn’t a good omen for what was to come game-wise: the Red Sox went on to lose 8-2.


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.

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.