Dozens of people at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have been affected by a norovirus outbreak that began Sunday, according to the Pyeongchang organizing committee.
Illnesses were first reported among security personnel being housed at a local youth center, committee officials said. More than 1,000 residents at the youth center have been quarantined. As a result, 900 military personnel were deployed to cover security at 20 venues until the quarantined guards can return to work.
Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread from infected people or from contaminated food, water or surfaces, causing symptoms that commonly include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain, according to the CDC. For more information, here are five stories about the disease:
Preventing foodborne disease a ‘farm to fork issue’
Physicians are increasingly using culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDT) to rapidly identify foodborne illnesses. Results that might take days to get from a culture can be had in hours. CIDTs are comprehensive, too, testing for many pathogens at once, including parasites. They can even detect viruses like norovirus, which cannot be cultured. Read more.
An outbreak of norovirus has sickened dozens of people at the Winter Olympics.
Bivalent norovirus vaccine elicits immune response up to 1 year
In a recent phase 2 trial, several different formulations of a bivalent norovirus vaccine candidate were well-tolerated and induced immune responses that persisted for 1 year after vaccination. Read more.
Norovirus gastroenteritis creates $60 billion global burden annually
Data show that approximately 699 million norovirus illnesses and 219,000 deaths occur each year. While these amounts lead to a median $4.2 billion in direct health care costs, the addition of lost productivity resulted in an overall societal cost of $60.3 billion. Read more.
Foodborne transmission responsible for 14% of norovirus outbreaks
Approximately 14% of all norovirus outbreaks worldwide can be attributed to contaminated food. Read more.
Physicians skeptical of ‘raw water’ health benefits, certain of its dangers
In late December, The New York Times published an article about an emerging “raw water” trend. However, several health concerns related to raw water have emerged. Among them, according to experts, is norovirus. Read more.