Morgan’s Norovirus Nightmare – NoroCORE Food Virology

Morgan’s Norovirus Nightmare

The great stories just keep on coming from our NoroCORE members, and this one goes to show how norovirus can mean fun for the whole family!


Morgan mad at Noro

Morgan demonstrating her distaste for the human norovirus.

Name: Morgan Chao                

Institution: Clemson University

Position title: Project Coordinator in Food, Nutrition, and Packaging Sciences


Please describe a time you believe you had norovirus:

It was a night… Just like this…

Well, actually, it was a day… early February, 2013. My family had gathered for a lovely weekend on the farm. My cousin, along with her mom, her husband, and their children were stopping through on their way home from Disney World. Our visit was lovely… at first.

On Saturday we were all enjoying our lunch when one of the little ones presented hers again, like, in projectile form. Bless her heart, the poor little thing didn’t even know to get up from the kids’ table. Her dad, mom, and grammy were the first to spring into action. Her dad quickly grabbed some cleaning solution and towels (paper or cloth, I don’t remember) to clean up the mess. The rest of us didn’t want to touch the vomit or go near her, to be honest.

OK, one down, we thought. Just an upset stomach, we hoped. But in the back of my mind, I began to wonder… Then on Sunday, it happened again. I didn’t see it with my own eyes, but the little one’s older sister was taken ill (vomiting) that morning. My brother, parents, and I sat on the front porch, trying not to psych ourselves out. I knew this could be catchy, but maybe my mental uneasiness was causing my queasiness. On my drive back to Clemson, I deliberated whether I should go to the movies that night. My stomach felt a little weird, but maybe it was all in my head… Upon arriving home, I decided to stay home. I’d hate to be sick at the movies. Boy was it a good thing I did! It wasn’t just in my head after all. By that night, it was in the toilet… ALL. OF. IT.

Turns out, my brother, nephew, mom, dad and myself all started vomiting that night. It would seem that the original two girls who brought the sickness to us via the oral (vomit) route… but for my brother, mom, and I, this thing was traveling via the oral AND fecal route. In case you’ve never experienced it, this = misery. Thankfully, after only one long night (with a treatment plan of laying on the couch, sucking on ice, and watching a lot of Downton Abbey), I was able to hold down liquids, but the bug didn’t surrender easily… it left me with lingering chills, aches, and a headache!

Although I never had a lab test to confirm it, the widespread onset (it took out most of my family!) and projectile nature of this nasty virus led me to self-diagnose it as Norovirus.


Thanks for sharing Morgan, and we hope your family never shares that particular kind of togetherness again.

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