The norovirus—a horribly contagious bug that causes bouts of vomiting and diarrhea—has popped up on some cruises over the years (most recently in May on a ship operated by Fred Olsen Cruises), and it is usually among the reasons skeptics cite when explaining why they refuse to cruise aboard mega-liners.
In a story first reported by the Los Angeles Times, at least a dozen California GOP staff members have been quarantined in their hotel rooms outside of Cleveland after developing symptoms associated with the virus. The staffers are holed up at the Kalahari Resort, an African-themed hotel connected to the nation’s largest water park in Sandusky, Ohio—about 60 miles from Cleveland.
Although it’s tempting to link actual diarrhea with some of the things that have been said at the convention so far, norovirus is no laughing matter. Symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting can linger and may be dangerous and even fatal for some patients. Because those who catch the bug lose so much liquid, dehydration also is a real danger.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus afflicts an average of 20 million Americans each year.
As of Tuesday afternoon, no convention delegates had been infected by the norovirus, and the Erie County Health Commissioner’s office was devising a treatment plan. However local authorities respond to the outbreak from here, one thing is certain: None of the infected will be cruising any time soon.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker,Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to theExpedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com