Some advice about Norovirus for convention visitors
What is Norovirus and why the concern?
As some of you may already know, there have been various outbreaks of Norovirus, commonly known as stomach-flu, that seems to have spread pretty quickly. Hospitals from Boston, to New Zealand to England have been reporting outbreaks, and this years strain seems to be pretty active. Catching the Norovirus can lead to some acute stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea for a few days. With so many people travelling from around the world to visit conventions, it's moderately likely someone will bring the Norovirus with them. Norovirus infections can spread quickly in mostly closed environments such as cruise ships and convention hotels, so there are some preventative steps that can be taken.
How can you avoid catching this?
Norovirus is primarily spread by contact. So maintaining personal hygiene is the best way to avoid picking it up. Particularly, wash your hands before eating. This is simply another reason why we all expect you to take showers at conventions! Unfortunately, Norovirus can also become airborne for short periods after vomiting, please keep this in mind if you're room sharing.
What if I do catch it?
Symptoms start between 24 and 48 hours after catching the virus, and consist of stomach pain, diarrhoea, and vomiting. The Norovirus usually goes away on it's own after 24-60 hours, and severe illness is rare. Keep yourself hydrated, and rested. If symptoms become severe, or you're an 'at risk' individual due to another condition, do contact medical help. People staying at a hotel who are showing symptoms and have vomited should contact the hotel for assistance with cleaning and to keep them informed. Please remember that Norovirus is a contagious condition.
You can find more information on the Norovirus at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm