Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reusable grocery bags kept in bathroom implicated in norovirus outbreak

Date:
May 9, 2012
Source:
Oxford University Press (OUP)
Summary:
Investigators recently mapped the trail of an outbreak of a nasty stomach bug among participants in a girls’ soccer tournament to a reusable open top grocery bag stored in a hotel bathroom. Their findings illustrate the role that inanimate objects can play in spreading norovirus infection.

Oregon investigators recently mapped the trail of an outbreak of a nasty stomach bug among participants in a girls' soccer tournament to a reusable open top grocery bag stored in a hotel bathroom.

Related Articles


Their findings, which illustrate the role that inanimate objects can play in spreading norovirus infection, appear in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Noroviruses are a leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide and the most common cause of foodborne outbreaks in the United States. Highly contagious, even in low concentrations, the viruses spread efficiently from feces and vomit by direct contact or by indirect transmission from viral contamination of surfaces. In October 2010, a cluster of gastroenteritis that appeared in a group of people with no apparent direct physical contact with a pathogen challenged investigators to find the cause and take appropriate control measures.

In the study, Kimberly K. Repp, PhD, MPH, of Oregon Health and Sciences University, and William E. Keene, PhD, MPH, of the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland, investigated an outbreak in a group of 17 Oregon girls, 13-14 years old, and their four adult chaperones attending a soccer tournament in Washington state. All had traveled in private automobiles, shared hotel rooms, and eaten at local restaurants. Eight cases were identified, including the index patient who was presumably infected prior to the trip. There was no direct contact between the original patient and her teammates after her symptoms began; before her overt symptoms began she left her room and moved in with a chaperone. The girl subsequently began vomiting and having diarrhea in the chaperone's bathroom. The outbreak affecting the rest of the team began several days later; they were exposed by handling a bag of snacks that unfortunately had been stored in the hotel bathroom. Virus aerosolized within the bathroom likely settled onto the grocery bag and its contents. Matching viruses were found on the reusable shopping bag two weeks later.

The investigation confirmed the great potential for contamination of surfaces in norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, in nursing homes, and in other group settings. "While we certainly recommend not storing food in bathrooms," the authors note, "it is more important to emphasize that areas where aerosol exposures may have occurred should be thoroughly disinfected; this includes not only exposed surfaces, but also objects in the environment" that could become contaminated and spread infection. The authors point to some of the practices that can be put in place to limit outbreaks caused by such indirect contact, including disinfection of affected areas and the use of multiple bathrooms with one dedicated for use by those who are sick.

In an accompanying editorial, Aron J. Hall, DVM, MSPH, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes that noroviruses "are perhaps the perfect human pathogens," causing an estimated 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis annually in the U.S. alone. The investigation of this outbreak, as reported by the study authors, "provides a fascinating example of how a unique exposure and transmission scenario can result in a norovirus outbreak."

Fast Facts:

1. Norovirus can spread infection through contact with surfaces and objects contaminated by aerosolized particles.

2. Noroviruses are highly contagious, even in low concentration, and the viruses spread efficiently from feces and vomit by direct and indirect contact.

3. Noroviruses are the leading cause of endemic diarrheal disease across all age groups, the leading cause of foodborne disease, and the cause of half of all gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide.

4. Whenever possible, ill persons should use a separate bathroom to reduce the potential for spread of the virus. Notify family members or cleaning staff about the need for thorough disinfection of surfaces.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oxford University Press (OUP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kimberly K. Repp, and William E. Keene. A Point-Source Norovirus Outbreak Caused by Exposure to Fomites. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, May 9, 2012 DOI: 10.1093/infdis/jis250

Cite This Page:

Oxford University Press (OUP). "Reusable grocery bags kept in bathroom implicated in norovirus outbreak." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509092524.htm>.
Oxford University Press (OUP). (2012, May 9). Reusable grocery bags kept in bathroom implicated in norovirus outbreak. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509092524.htm
Oxford University Press (OUP). "Reusable grocery bags kept in bathroom implicated in norovirus outbreak." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120509092524.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins