NoroCORE attended the 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), which was held July 25-28 in Portland, Oregon. We educated the attendees on food virology and the NoroCORE from booth #519 in the exhibit hall, held a reception for our stakeholders and collaborators who were in attendance, and donated a gift basket to the silent auction.
Our members gave numerous poster and oral presentations, and two of our Collaborators won prestigious awards at the meeting. Dr. Kalmia Kniel was presented with the Elmer Marth Educator Award, and Dr. Benjamin Chapman received the Larry Beuchat Young Researcher Award.
Continuing the NoroCORE tradition, this year brought the Go Noroviral Experiment, a new interactive that literally went viral. It was a citizen science experiment where the attendees modeled person-to-person transmission of norovirus, starting with the infection of one person, Patient Zero. Each infected person could give out up to ten buttons to infect other people, for a chance at some nice Apple devices.
We kept track of which buttons left and came back to the booth, but the outbreak itself was completely handled by the conference attendees! People of all ages and backgrounds participated, and we received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Sadly, it was so popular (we were handing out 100 buttons per hour from the booth) that we had to limit distribution times a bit or it might have been over in one night!
We also held a photo contest for the most creative picture involving a norovirus button. First place went to an amazing montage of before and after photos of the button owner and everyone he infected.
A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth, and we will be at the 2016 meeting in St. Louis so look for us there!