Possible Norovirus Among Staffers At Republican National Convention

Image courtesy of C x 2

Norovirus, also known as Norwalk virus, is a fast-spreading and very unpleasant gastrointestinal illness. It thrives in environments with lots of people in close quarters, like health care facilities, cruise ships, and conventions. That’s why it’s bad news that norovirus has been reported at a big gathering in Cleveland happening now: the Republican National Convention.

Yes, as thousands of delegates from across the country arrive in Cleveland to spend time crammed in an arena together, eleven people who arrived early from the delegation from California report symptoms of a disease resembling norovirus. It hasn’t yet been confirmed to be the super-contagious virus, since officials are waiting for lab tests to come back.

CBS Sacramento reports that the patients in California were told not to share their food with anyone or to shake hands, and they’re currently quarantined at a hotel at the Kalahari water park about an hour outside of the city. They’re presumably not allowed to go on the rides.

There have been no other reports of gastrointestinal viruses among convention-goers yet, but the incubation period (how long after exposure before people start showing symptoms) is 12 to 48 hours.

Most cases of norovirus come from contaminated food and drink, and one contagious restaurant employee can infect hundreds of people. The virus generally doesn’t cause lasting damage, but the period when people are sick can be extremely unpleasant. People who are very young, very old, or have a chronic illness can become severely dehydrated and need intravenous fluids.

11 Californians contract likely norovirus before RNC, now staying at Kalahari [Cleveland.com]
Norovirus [CDC]

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