Tags: norovirus | grocery | bag

Outbreak Traced to Reusable Bag

Friday, 11 May 2012 11:19 PM


An outbreak of the norovirus stomach bug among participants in an Oregon girls' soccer tournament has been traced to a single reusable grocery bag stored in a hotel bathroom, Oregon investigators are reporting.
Their findings, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, demonstrate the ability of inanimate objects to harbor and spread viral infections.
"While we certainly recommend not storing food in bathrooms," the researchers said, "it is more important to emphasize that areas where [airborne particle] exposures may have occurred should be thoroughly disinfected; this includes not only exposed surfaces, but also objects in the environment" that could become tainted.
Noroviruses are the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks in the United States, health officials say. It is highly contagious, even in low concentrations, and is easily spread through fecal contamination of surfaces. Numerous outbreaks have stricken cruise ship passengers and nursing home residents in recent years.
For the new study, researchers investigated an October 2010 outbreak that sickened 17 Oregon girls and four adult chaperones attending a soccer tournament in Washington state. By tracking the group’s movements and activities they found all were exposed by handling a bag of snacks that had been stored in a reusable shopping back placed in a hotel bathroom.
Aron J. Hall, a specialist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said noroviruses "are perhaps the perfect human pathogens," causing an estimated 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis annually in the U.S. alone. He said the new study "provides a fascinating example of how a unique exposure and transmission scenario can result in a norovirus outbreak."



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A grocery bag stored in a hotel bathroom is identified as the culprit in a 2010 norovirus outbreak.
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Friday, 11 May 2012 11:19 PM
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