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Norovirus, not just a cruise thing


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Just got this email from my son's high school - To all those that feel Noro is a cruise 'disease' think again. It is in your own backyard. Remember this when getting on a ship not feeling the best.


Dear Parents and Guardians:

Below is a notice from the County Department of Health, which they have asked us to pass on to you:


The County Department of Health announced today that it is addressing an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness — possibly norovirus — in three elementary schools and a daycare center. The virus currently affects 122 people ranging in age from Pre-K to adult. Although lab tests have not yet confirmed norovirus, the illness and how it spread is consistent with a norovirus outbreak. Plus, norovirus outbreaks are more common in winter.

Since the onset in mid-January, county health department epidemiologist X and communicable disease nurse, X, RN, teamed with school nurses and staff at the affected schools to conduct surveillance for additional cases and to review infection control practices. In turn, the schools are keeping parents informed through communications to the home.

Norovirus causes a gastrointestinal illness producing nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Most people become infected by eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with norovirus, or by touching surfaces or objects tainted by the virus and then touching their mouth. It is also possible to contract the virus through direct contact with a person who is infected and experiencing symptoms.

"Norovirus illness is usually brief in people who are otherwise healthy," said X health officer and director of the County Department of Health. "But because the infection can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, parents and adults who are affected should watch for possible dehydration."

Norovirus infection can be more serious when it affects young children, the elderly, and people with other illnesses as it can raise their risks for dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. A dehydrated child may also cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.

"Dehydration can lead to other serious problems," explained X. "Severe dehydration may require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous fluids. It’s important to prevent dehydration during norovirus illness." If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, contact your healthcare provider.

To protect against dehydration, drink plenty of liquids, especially drinks that do not contain caffeine or alcohol. Some oral rehydration solutions commonly available in food and drug stores include Infalyte, Kao Lectrolyte, Naturalyte, Oralyte, and Pedialyte. If you are unsure about which product to use or how to use these pre-mixed fluids, contact your healthcare provider.

When it comes to norovirus, there is no vaccine or drug to treat those who become infected. And antibiotic drugs are no help either because they fight against bacteria not viruses.

To decrease your chances of coming into contact with norovirus, follow these preventive steps: Frequently wash your hands with soap and water (alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not effective against norovirus), especially after toilet visits and changing diapers and before eating or preparing food; carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them; thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner; immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap); flush vomit or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean and disinfected.

Persons who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for three days after they recover from their illness. Food that may have been contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of properly.



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It is highly contagious virus that spreads like wild fire in a closed in space like a cruise ship that is why it is always associated with them but.. it is not the only place you can get it. Our small city had a huge out break of it earlier this winter. My workplace had an outbreak of it only 2 of us didn't get it( I was one of them).Wash you hands bring extra lysol wipes and use sanitizer..If you are going to get it on the ship chances are you were exposed to it before you even got on ..

Thanks for the info..

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I had Noro or a stomach virus similar to Noro 3 weeks ago. I was in bed (or in the bathroom) for 48 hours, followed by 2 additional days where I could just not get out of bed. It was a total of 10 days before I really had my energy back. I haven't ever had it on a cruise ship and I haven't cruised in 2 months. Cruise ships just get the media attention like no other venue.


Interesting about the dehydration, I think I was becoming dehydrated even drinking water. You really need a fluid with electrolytes and didn't even think of it while I was sick...I was so sick I didn't think of anything.


I think Gatorade is good to keep on hand, Pedialyte is good too, but has a short shelf life. If I ever have it, or anyone in my family has it again, the first thing will be for someone to go get Pedialyte.

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Next time you cruise, count the number of people who do not use the alcohol gel at the entrance to every food serving area! Plus those who come straight from the toilet, then pick up food from self-service areas by hand, ignoring the tonges and spoons provided....

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Next time you cruise, count the number of people who do not use the alcohol gel at the entrance to every food serving area! Plus those who come straight from the toilet, then pick up food from self-service areas by hand, ignoring the tonges and spoons provided....



As long as they were ONLY touching their own food at least their hands weren't on the communal serving utensils, eh? Not necessarily realistic though :(


We carry a small (1 ounce maybe?) bottle of the gel with us to sanitize our hands with immediately before eating and *after* touching communally used serving tools.

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akcruise - I see you are in NJ. Isn't the NJ school winter break coming up this week or next? A break from schools could help break the illness cycle ;) , or...SPREAD the disease to places that the kids may be vacationing to...like cruiseships! :eek:


Yes, I am in NJ but our school district is in session this week much to my son's dismay (had a 4 day weekend). But yes, if they were it would sure help.


The point I was attempting to make was that it doesn't only happen on cruise ships. I think most on CC know this, but you always here someone saying don't cruise you'll get Noro. I try to point out these type situations in those cases.

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The Norovirus hits most often in college dorms. The press doesn't report on this because it lacks the sensationalism of writing about a cruise ship having a breakout. Plus the passengers are actually wanting to blame the cruise lines and try to get something out of it when it was their fellow passenger(s) that brought it on board.

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I'm not sure why this is news. Who ever said it was only for cruise ships?

A whole lot of people think Noro is only related to cruise ships, because that is the only time it is reported as news.


Not here on CC, but another message board I was reading once there were people dissing cruise ships. The main complaint was that everyone who goes on any cruise ship always gets Noro and many people fall off the ship every single week.


It is also a joy for the media to report any negative news about cruise ships. There are suspicious deaths in America every day of the week, but the George Smith case got so much more attention than any other. There are heinous crimes that occur every day around the world, but if it happens on a cruise ship it is sensationalized.


You can fall to your death out a hotel window and it will make local news, but if you heave yourself off a cruise ship (there is no such thing as accidentally falling off) it is worldwide news. Not only that, but they repeatedly report it and some people will even worry that "so many people are falling off cruise ships", when in fact it will be a very small number.


Think of how many cruise ships there are every week and every ship is carrying thousands of pax. I think the average number is over 30,000 per week (I'm not doing the math). If only 15 - 20 people meet their death per year on cruise ships, the odds are in your favor.


Many people never pay enough attention to get past the headlines and only hear what they want to hear, not the truth.

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Those hand sanitizers do not help prevent norovirus. Sure they may be good for other stuff but are just a waste of time when it comes to norovirus. Now for washing your hands with soap and water - that's another story.

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We're having an outbreak here in NC as well. Some h.s. kids from across the state were in downtown Raleigh this past weekend for a conference, and 150 of them got sick! Turns out at least some (and probably all) of them had norovirus. There's also been an outbreak at a nursing home in the area. And lots of people at work have been or are sick. I'm hoping I don't get it, but I'm more worried about my 14-month-old son, who is in daycare! :(


As for dehydration, it is absolutely better to drink something with electrolytes rather than just water. I had food poisoning right after Christmas and drank water all day, but I did not even begin to feel better until it dawned on me to drink Gatorade!

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