September 18, 2020

Norovirus Outbreak at Winter Olympics in Korea Sickens Almost 200

The Olympic host town of PyeongChang in South Korea has been the site of a norovirus outbreak just before and during the Winter Olympics. The Korea Herald states that almost 200 people, mostly support staff and security staff, have been sickened. No athletes have been reported sickened to date.

Norovirus Winter Olympics

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes food poisoning symptoms. People suffering from this illness experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The virus spreads quickly among people coming into contact with each other, and is also spread through food, drink, and common contact surfaces. Norovirus can be destroyed with a bleach solution.

The latest news is that the cooking water at the lodging facility where private security staff stayed may have been contaminated. Public health officials started an epidemiological investigation last week after security workers for the Winter Olympics tested positive for the virus.

There were more than a thousand people who used that facility. Of those, 94 were confirmed ill with the virus. People who had consumed food at the center were 6.5 times more likely to be infected than those who ate elsewhere.

Among the 194 people sickened, as of today, 147 have recovered and returned to work. Forty seven patients are still quarantined. The outbreak began on February 3, 2018.

The number of new cases has drastically declined since the facility in question stopped serving meals. But some people who did not visit that center and who did not have contact with those sickened have contracted the illness.

To prevent the spread of norovirus, it’s important that anyone who is sick with vomiting and diarrhea stay home from work and school. Wash your hands well with soap and water after using the bathroom and changing diapers. And if you are sick, do not prepare food and drink for others. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are not as effective against the virus as soap and water.


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