Norovirus Reportedly Striking Some Attendees At Republican Convention
There are reports of a particularly nasty virus striking the Republican National Convention:
CLEVELAND — The highly contagious norovirus appears to have hit the Republican National Convention.
A dozen California Republican Party staff members, who arrived last week in Ohio ahead of the state’s delegates, have fallen ill with the virus, said Jim Brulte, chairman of the state GOP.
So far, none of the state’s delegates appears to have caught the virus.
“Our best guess is that this came from California,” Brulte said. The first staffer to fall ill infected her spouse.
The delegates from California are staying at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, nearly 60 miles away from the Cleveland arena where the convention is being staged.
State party officials have suggested that delegates frequently wash their hands, avoid shaking hands and sharing food and to stay off delegation buses to the convention arena if they exhibit any symptoms of norovrius.
“You’ll know if you have it,” Cynthia Bryant, executive director of the state GOP, said, according to an email cited by the Sacramento Bee. “We will work out other means of transportation.”
The virus can be caught through contact from infected people or surfaces, or through consuming contaminated food or water. It spreads quickly in closed places, such as cruise ships, schools and nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Norovirus inflames the stomach, the intestines — or both. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Such symptoms can be especially dangerous for young children and older adults.
Every year, about 19 to 21 million people become sick with norovirus; about 570 to 800 people die annually from it, according to the CDC.
The infected individuals first began showing symptoms on Thursday, and Erie County health officials have taken fecal samples for analysis, the Plain Dealer reported.
“It looks like the norovirus, but we’re not going to say that’s definitively what it is,” Erie County Health Commissioner Pete Schade told the newspaper.
The jokes, of course, are rather obvious, but given that Norovirus can have quite serious consequences and we’re talking about an event where thousands of people are crowded into very close quarters, one hopes that the spread of the virus can be limited as much as possible.