19 February 2014 (19:51 UTC-07 Tango 18 February 2014)/18 Rabi ‘ath-Thani 1435/30 Bahman 1392/20 Bing-Yin (1st month) 4712
Canada: In Ontario, the Brucelea Haven long term care home was hit with a gastroenteritis outbreak. At least 144 people sick. Officials say things are now “under control”. The Sudbury District Health Unit reporting incrased outbreaks in daycare centers.
China: In Hong Kong, a confirmed norovirus outbreak reported on Lantau Island. At least 27 people sick. In Henan, a giant panda died of unknown gastroenteritis, at the Zhengzhou Zoo. The public is suspicious because zoo officials originally denied the panda had died, saying she had been sent to mate. People are demanding an investigation.
India: In the state of Orissa, three infants have died, and more than 50 children sick from an unknown gastroenteritis outbreak. Health officials believe the water supply for two villages is the source. The UN’s World Health organization reports that in 2008, 98-thousand children died from gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus.
European Union: In Spain, health officials are warning of increased gastroenteritis outbreaks. Hospitals are averaging two cases per day. Officials are blaming climate change for causing food to degrade faster than normal. They are advising people to avoid street food vendors. In United Kingdom, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust closed the Alexandra Hospital to visitation due to norovirus outbreak. Visitation is also restricted at the Worcestershire Royal and Kidderminster Treatment Centre. New Cross Hospital restricting visitation due to an outbreaks in the women’s respiratory medical ward, the general medical ward and in the cardiology ward. The Arrowe Park Hospital closed for new admissions. Stafford Hospital restricted visitation to their trauma and orthopaedic wards.
New Zealand: Public Health investigating an outbreak at the Waimea College. At least 30 employees sick. The cause of the gastroenteritis is not known.
United States of America: Royal Caribbean has reportedly dropped their prices for Bahamas cruises to $32 USD per night. This is due to crashing sales caused by repeated gastroenteritis outbreaks.
California, U.S.A.: In Santa Barbara, a nursing home dealing with an outbreak. It was not made public, I found out because I have relatives in the nursing home.
Idaho, U.S.A.: In Ada County, the College of Western Idaho shutdown! Their Black Eagle Business Park campus was actually evacuated! In Kootenai County, 90 people got sick and one was hospitalized after outbreaks hit two nursing homes.
Michigan, U.S.A.: For some reason officials with the Rochester Community Schools tried to keep quite an outbreak at the Long Meadow Elementary school.
Nebraska, U.S.A.: Department of Health and Human Services revealing that dozens of nursing/assisted living homes are dealing with outbreaks. DHHS officials suspect it’s being spread by visitors to the nursing homes. (they don’t really know how it gets around, folks)
New York, U.S.A.: For the first time in 145 years, the Mohonk Mountain House shutdown due to confirmed norovirus outbreak. At least 200 hotel customers and employees got sick. Some customers are now suing.
Oregon, U.S.A.: In Bend, a gastroenteritis outbreak at the evil Deschutes County Jail. At least 28 prisoners sick.
Texas, U.S.A.: In Sherman, the owners of a Mexican food restaurant say they voluntarily shutdown after six employees got sick. However, the Grayson County Health Department says they are investigating reports that 40 people got sick after eating at the restaurant.
Washington, U.S.A.: In Seattle, a nursing home reporting an outbreak. 48 people got sick, and some were sent to the hospital. This is the second time the nursing home was hit with a gastroenteritis outbreak. In Bellingham, an Applebee’s restaurant was shutdown due to an outbreak. The Whatcom County Health Department reported at least 56 customer complaints. This is the second outbreak at the same restaurant. The first outbreak involved 15 employees back on 06-07 February.
The Journal of Applied Microbiology published a study by University of Arizona researchers, which says oils from the oregano herb (called carvacrol) can break down the outer layers of norovirus.
The first norovirus case occurred in 1968 in Norwalk, Ohio U.S.A. This is why it is sometimes called the Norwalk virus. However, the 1968 outbreak was not confirmed until 1972, when researchers were finally able to identify the virus. Ever since then, year after year, there are more and more cases, and stronger and stronger versions of the virus.
The U.S. CDC says norovirus accounts for as many as 800 deaths in the United States, every year.
Norovirus (aka Norwalk Virus), is a surface contact bug, meaning you pick it up by touching or eating it. It is not influenza and there is still no vaccine for fast evolving RNA norovirus. The only ‘treatment’ is to keep the sick person hydrated.
Exotic anti-biotic soaps can’t kill norovirus, or any other virus for that matter, because anti-biotics are only for bacteria. Despite that, even hand ‘sanitizers’ made with alcohol can’t totally get rid of norovirus. Guess what apparently works? According to the U.S. CDC old fashioned hand soap is best. Consumer Reports says to leave the soap on your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. Also, in public restrooms use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door, do not touch surfaces with your bare hands after washing them.
Wash household surfaces with bleach.
The worse thing is that you can be infected and not have any symptoms. An infected person can spread norovirus, yet not feel sick themselves. If you think you might be infected do not cook food for other people. People recovering from traditional symptoms of norovirus can continue spreading the bug for days after feeling better (some reports say weeks).