A handful of Republican staff members in Cleveland for the GOP convention were reported to be suffering Tuesday from a possible norovirus infection.

And if there are a few people with norovirus, it’s likely there will be more.

As many as 11 members of the California delegation’s advance team are showing symptoms that are consistent with the norovirus, according to Peter Schade, the Erie County health commissioner, who is investigating the outbreak. They are staying at a hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, about an hour from Cleveland.

advertisement

“We’ve got about 11 who have been sick over the last few days, and we’ve been out there every day and working with them to eliminate the spread [between] the resort and the delegation from California,” Schade said.

The health department is running tests to confirm whether the Republican staff members have norovirus.

Noroviruses trigger explosive bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. They clear you out and clear out of your system pretty quickly. Symptoms typically only last one to three very miserable days. Most people recover without incident, but some people may need medical care for dehydration — especially small children or older adults.

The pesky bugs are exceedingly contagious. Norovirus outbreaks rip through crowds, and are often associated with travelers on cruise ships, children in day care centers, or guests at a wedding.

Jim Brulte, the California delegation chairman, told STAT in an email that the trouble started when one of the staff members who arrived ahead of the delegation came down with a virus and infected her husband.

He said the staff members who are showing symptoms are being quarantined until they’ve gone at least 24 hours without showing symptoms.

“To the best of our knowledge,” Brulte said, delegation staff members were the only people affected.

The hotel where the staff members are staying has a large indoor water park — the sort of environment in which the virus could thrive.

Brulte said the delegation has added hand sanitizer stations at the Sandusky hotel and that the executive director has sent an email to the delegates advising them on precautions to take. He added, however, that some delegates and alternates are staying at two other locations in the area.

Norovirus spreads via what’s called the fecal-oral route. That’s a not-so-appealing way of describing how virus that has come out of one person finds its way into another.

Caring for or cleaning up after someone who has had a norovirus infection can trigger a new infection. Even touching surfaces that are contaminated with noroviruses and then later putting your fingers in your mouth will do the job.

Eating food prepared by people sick with norovirus infections can induce infection. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says noroviruses are the leading cause of illness and outbreaks from contaminated food in the US.

A little over a decade ago, when two employees of a Massachusetts bakery worked while ill with norovirus-like symptoms, norovirus outbreaks occurred at 46 weddings on a single weekend. The source of infection: wedding cakes. Up to 2,700 people were affected, a report of that outbreak revealed.

David Nather contributed reporting.

  • The Republicans made a big mistake choosing a state like Ohio for its convention. No wonder there are so many empty seats. Then top it off with the NATION’S WORST GOVERNOR — JOHN KASICH and you are sure to have a lousy time. Kasich is a SORE LOSER. He doesn’t understand why the convention wouldn’t nominate him when Trump won all the states and Kasich won only one — the LOSER STATE OF OHIO! Kasich, Cruz and some of the other losers think that their turn will come in four years but Trump and Pence and going to be such good leaders that after 8 years of Trump and 8 years of Pence, the only thing that these losers will be doing is signing up for SS. None of the losers this time around will ever be president. And, Cruz was such a spoiler that he won’t even qualify for a Supreme Court Justice seat. When his term is over in two years, we, in Texas, won’t re-elect him to the Senate. His bid for the governorship will be shot down. He is done — LOSER, LOSER — Perhaps this crazy Cuban can run for president of Cuba as he is a Cuban citizen and not eligible for the U.S. presidency.

  • Norovirus is an absolutely ghastly disease. It’s the worst case of “stomach flu” you’ve ever had, multiplied by a factor of 10. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  • Norovirus is awful. My son brought it home from school earlier this year. I took the best precautions I could but one by one we all fell ill. I was the last one to get it and got very dehydrated quick. It’s like a stomach bug on steroids.

  • If American kitchen workers had prepared their meals, this never would have happened!

  • Are we sure this is norovirus and not the body’s reaction to the vile things being said by the presumptive GOP nominee?

  • I guess this is what happens when you swallow anything and get so full it has to come out explosively?

Comments are closed.

Sign up for our Daily Recap newsletter

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy