Norovirus season usually winds down this time of year, though there have been some notable norovirus outbreaks in the past couple of weeks. You may have heard of the two cruise ship outbreaks, on the Legend of the Seas and the Celebrity Infinity, where over 100 people were sick on each, but did you know about these others?
Today, a county in central Georgia closed all of its public schools after around 150 children were home sick with norovirus-like symptoms the day before. While most of the cases were at one school, East Laurens Primary School, all nine of Laurens County public schools were closed as a precaution, since sporadic cases had also been seen in some of the other schools. The closure will give workers time to disinfect the schools and the buses over the weekend, with the expectation to reopen Monday. The schools sent letters to parents yesterday afternoon and left phone messages. Test results are expected next week to confirm whether it was norovirus.
Across the pond in the U.K., aside from ongoing hospital ward closures (these in Inverness and Cornwall being some of the most recent), the Marsham Court Hotel in Bournemouth had to close for cleaning, with plans to reopen Sunday. According to the hotel’s director, this is the first time something like this has happened in the establishment’s 28 years of operation by her family. The outbreak is not currently believed to be foodborne.
One hundred miles to the east, the Cooden Beach Hotel in East Sussex, another popular vacation spot for viewing the English Channel, has had almost 100 cases of gastrointestinal illness in the last two weeks. There have been eight confirmed cases of norovirus among the guests, and the hotel is undergoing cleaning.
These outbreaks point to how easily and quickly the virus can be spread, and why prevention is important.