RSOE EDIS
Event Report

UTC
Event Description

Epidemic Hazard in USA on Friday, 04 January, 2013 at 04:38 (04:38 AM) UTC.

Description
Doctors say a norovirus outbreak is making dozens of people sick in the Portland area. Norovirus is often known as the "cruise ship disease," but it can spread elsewhere, too. Doctors think Portland's recent cold spell is adding to the problem because it's forcing people inside closed quarters. Norovirus is extremely contagious. It takes as few as 10 viral particles to make someone sick with norovirus and people can remain contagious for up to 10 days - even after they've stopped showing symptoms. Providence Portland Medical Center has seen 75 cases in its emergency room just since Christmas, according to Doctor Jamie Schlueter. She said it's also sickened a dozen ER nurses and four doctors in just the last week. Making matters more complicated, this appears to be a new strain of norovirus. "People that have been exposed to norovirus before might get it again, so your immune system might not completely respond," Schlueter explained. "We have a surge about every four years." Symptoms of norovirus include severe nausea, cramping, diarrhea and fever. People who have it may remain sick for one to three days. Some mistake it for the flu, but a flu shot will not prevent the norovirus. Doctors said hand-washing can help, though, along with drinking lots of water. Noroviruses are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the United States.
Biohazard name: Norovirus Outbreak
Biohazard level: 1/4 Low
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses including Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, Escherichia coli, varicella (chicken pox), as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria. At this level precautions against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal, most likely involving gloves and some sort of facial protection. Usually, contaminated materials are left in open (but separately indicated) waste receptacles. Decontamination procedures for this level are similar in most respects to modern precautions against everyday viruses (i.e.: washing one's hands with anti-bacterial soap, washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants, etc). In a lab environment, all materials used for cell and/or bacteria cultures are decontaminated via autoclave.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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