Samantha’s Norovirus Nightmare – NoroCORE Food Virology

Samantha’s Norovirus Nightmare

Here is another post from one of the NoroCORE Collaborative, and Dr. Wales gets major brownie points for not only cleaning up after her ill family members, but also for testing her own samples in the lab!

Samantha WalesName: Samantha Wales                

Institution: CFSAN (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition), Division of Molecular Biology, Molecular Virology Team

Position title: Research microbiologist. I try to improve/develop culture methods for difficult-to-culture foodborne viruses, like hepatitis A virus and norovirus.


Please describe a time you believe you had norovirus:

February 2014, my amazing, adorable, 3 year old son gave my husband and I the wonderful gift of norovirus. My son was fine after about 3 hours, but during that time he gave it to us (in the form of projectile vomiting on us both). We only had one bathroom on the second floor. Our other bathroom was in the (messy, disgusting) basement. It was NOT fun. My husband got it BAD – for 3 days he couldn’t keep anything down. I was only really sick for half a day, but I couldn’t eat for another couple of days, though I felt better. Interestingly, after this incident, both my husband and I couldn’t drink coffee for almost a year. We switched to tea (but we’re back on coffee now!)

December 2014, my son had vomited in bed while I was out of town for work. I was only sick for a little bit, pretty mild as before.


Do you have a theory as to how you were infected?

Feb 2014 – Other children had been vomiting at his daycare.

Dec 2014 – I came home from my trip and discovered that my husband had not actually gotten all the vomit cleaned up. I washed it off the wall and the bunkbed and must have contracted it then (though I SWEAR I washed my hands!!)


What did you do to treat yourself?

Rest and Pedialyte.


Did you ever have a lab test confirm norovirus as the cause of your illness?

The coolest thing about being a scientist, is that I got to confirm it myself! Both times!


Did anyone else around you get sick?

Feb 2014 – Just my husband and I got sick. He got it worse.

Dec 2014 – Only I got sick, but it didn’t last long.


Anything else you’d like to share?

We got an addition put on in the summer of 2014 THAT INCLUDED A POWDER ROOM ON THE FIRST FLOOR! (enthusiastically shown in the photo above) (because NEVER AGAIN – will I travel to the basement for that experience) :-).


Thanks for sharing Samantha!

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