Lee-Ann’s Norovirus Nightmare – NoroCORE Food Virology

Lee-Ann’s Norovirus Nightmare

Here is a tale of unfortunate events from our Fearless Leader, Dr. Jaykus!


Lee-Ann JaykusName: Lee-Ann Jaykus

Institution: North Carolina State University

Position title: Scientific Director of NoroCORE


Please describe a time you believe you had norovirus:

I was a brand new professor at NCSU in, of all things, food safety.  We have a Wine and Cheese gala in April of every year, and it was the night of that event.  My children were old enough to look after themselves, so I got dressed up and went out to a real social function.  The event was at my boss’s house, lots of students, staff, and faculty, door prizes, etc.  Really a nice time.

I got home around midnight and tossed and turned for about an hour before the first wave of nausea hit.  Then vomiting and diarrhea for 12 hours, pretty much incapacitated.  Good food microbiologist that I am, I figured it was probably Staph food poisoning, norovirus, or less likely, a couple of the more mild bacterial enteric pathogens.  I then traced back food source in my head.  I suppose it could have been something I ate at the Wine and Cheese, although not likely (fortunately, no one else at the event got sick!).  Could I have temperature abused the beef stroganoff I had for dinner?  It’s possible; but given the combination of symptoms and the duration, it was more likely norovirus.  But, given noro, who knows how I might have gotten it?

All’s well that ends well.  My ex-husband took pity on me that morning when he picked up the kids and brought me ginger ale and saltines.  I got better rapidly, and my girls never did come down with it.  Guess I’ll never know.  But I do have sympathy with others who come down with this nasty bug.  And I’ll never make that beef stroganoff recipe again!


Thanks for sharing, Dr. Jaykus!

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