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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Norovirus Infection Hits Medical Convention Attendees

It seems ironic that a norovirus (stomach infection) would sicken 65 people that attended a medical convention on Thursday, at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Thursday evening the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's fire department was called to the Reagan National Airport because a dozen travelers became ill, with symptoms including, nausea and all were scheduled for departure from that airport.

Dozens of others came forward on Friday to report similar symptoms after attending the same medical convention.

(Gaylord National at night)

Tests have now confirmed that it was a norovirus that sickened 65 people who attended that conference.

A norovirus is a virus that causes acute gastroenteritis in humans. Norovirus infection usually presents as acute-onset vomiting, watery non-bloody diarrhea with abdominal cramps, and nausea. Low-grade fever also occasionally occurs, and vomiting is more common in children.

In other words, a stomach flu or stomach infection, which is generally spread by contact with infected people, ingesting contaminated food or drink or by touching contaminated items and then touching their mouths.

According to health officials they are not positive how the virus spread to so many but they say that a private cleaning crew has already been contracted to clean all hard surfaces, rooms, linens, and carpet at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

Since over 350 people attended that conference, it is safe to say this could have been far worse.

According to the Washington Post, the Gaylord resort had opened just days earlier and a spokesmen for the resort said that health officials had told them that the sickness was the result of a virus, not food poisoning or an environmental problem.