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Projectile Shit Vomiting For the Win
January 3, 2013 12:32 PM   Subscribe

The Norovirus: A Study in Puked Perfection, "Each norovirus carries just nine protein-coding genes (you have about 20,000). Even with that skimpy genetic toolkit, noroviruses can break the locks on our cells, slip in, and hack our own DNA to make new noroviruses. The details of this invasion are sketchy, alas, because scientists haven’t figured out a good way to rear noroviruses in human cells in their labs. It’s not even clear exactly which type of cell they invade once they reach the gut. Regardless of the type, they clearly know how to exploit their hosts. Noroviruses come roaring out of the infected cells in vast numbers. And then they come roaring out of the body. Within a day of infection, noroviruses have rewired our digestive system so that stuff comes flying out from both ends."

Linked articles cited by Zimmer:
Noroviruses: The Perfect Human Pathogens?
Noroviruses are perhaps the perfect human pathogens. These viruses possess essentially all of the attributes of an ideal infectious agent: highly contagious, rapidly and prolifically shed, constantly evolving, evoking limited immunity, and only moderately virulent, allowing most of those infected to fully recover, thereby maintaining a large susceptible pool of hosts. These characteristics have enabled noroviruses to become the leading cause of endemic diarrheal disease across all age groups [1], the leading cause of foodborne disease [2], and the cause of half of all gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide [3]. In the United States alone, noroviruses are responsible for an estimated 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis annually, including >70 000 hospitalizations and nearly 800 deaths [2] [4] [5]. In developing countries, where the greatest burden of diarrheal disease occurs, noroviruses have been estimated to cause up to 200 000 deaths each year in children < 5 years of age [6]. Although recognition of this immense disease burden is relatively recent, it is unclear whether it has long been present and failed to be recognized because of lack of sensitive diagnostics or if, in fact, noroviruses represent a truly emergent public health issue [7]. Regardless, attempts to address the overwhelming burden of norovirus disease first require an understanding of the complexity and efficiency with which these viruses spread.

Pathogenesis of Noroviruses, Emerging RNA Viruses
Human noroviruses in the family Caliciviridae are a major cause of epidemic gastroenteritis. They are responsible for at least 95% of viral outbreaks and over 50% of all outbreaks worldwide. Transmission of these highly infectious plus-stranded RNA viruses occurs primarily through contaminated food or water, but also through person-to-person contact and exposure to fomites. Norovirus infections are typically acute and self-limited. However, disease can be much more severe and prolonged in infants, elderly, and immunocompromised individuals. Norovirus outbreaks frequently occur in semi-closed communities such as nursing homes, military settings, schools, hospitals, cruise ships, and disaster relief situations. Noroviruses are classified as Category B biodefense agents because they are highly contagious, extremely stable in the environment, resistant to common disinfectants, and associated with debilitating illness. The number of reported norovirus outbreaks has risen sharply since 2002 suggesting the emergence of more infectious strains. There has also been increased recognition that noroviruses are important causes of childhood hospitalization. Moreover, noroviruses have recently been associated with multiple clinical outcomes other than gastroenteritis. It is unclear whether these new observations are due to improved norovirus diagnostics or to the emergence of more virulent norovirus strains. Regardless, it is clear that human noroviruses cause considerable morbidity worldwide, have significant economic impact, and are clinically important emerging pathogens. Despite the impact of human norovirus-induced disease and the potential for emergence of highly virulent strains, the pathogenic features of infection are not well understood due to the lack of a cell culture system and previous lack of animal models. This review summarizes the current understanding of norovirus pathogenesis from the histological to the molecular level, including contributions from new model systems.

Tracking Environmental Norovirus Contamination in a Pediatric Primary Immunodeficiency Unit
Norovirus strains were detected in two patients and in environmental swabs from a pediatric primary immunodeficiency unit in London, United Kingdom, during an infection control incident in November and December 2007. Detailed analyses of the gene encoding the P2 domain demonstrated that the majority of the strains were not related to the patients and that the environmental contamination was most likely due to secondary transfer by the hands of staff or visitors.

A Point-Source Norovirus Outbreak Caused by Exposure to Fomites
We investigated a norovirus outbreak (genotype GII.2) affecting 9 members of a soccer team. Illness was associated with touching a reusable grocery bag or consuming its packaged food contents (risk difference, 0.636; P < .01). By polymerase chain reaction, GII norovirus was recovered from the bag, which had been stored in a bathroom used before the outbreak by a person with norovirus-like illness. Airborne contamination of fomites can lead to subsequent point-source outbreaks. When feasible, we recommend dedicated bathrooms for sick persons and informing cleaning staff (professional or otherwise) about the need for adequate environmental sanitation of surfaces and fomites to prevent spread.

Recurring Norovirus Transmission on an Airplane
Previously reported outbreaks of norovirus gastroenteritis associated with aircraft have been limited to transmission during a single flight sector. During October 2009, an outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting occurred among different groups of flight attendants who had worked on separate flight sectors on the same airplane. We investigated the cause of the outbreak and whether the illnesses were attributable to work on the airplane. Information was obtained from flight attendants on demographic characteristics, symptoms, and possible transmission risk factors. Case patients were defined as flight attendants with diarrhea or vomiting <51 hours after the end of their first flight sector on the airplane during 13–18 October 2009. Stool samples were tested for norovirus RNA. A passenger had vomited on the Boeing 777-200 airplane on the 13 October flight sector. Sixty-three (82%) of 77 flight attendants who worked on the airplane during 13–18 October provided information, and 27 (43%) met the case definition. The attack rate among flight attendants decreased significantly over successive flight sectors from 13 October onward (P < .001). Working as a supervisor was independently associated with development of illness (adjusted odds ratio, 5.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.3–25.6). Norovirus genotype GI.6 was detected in stool samples from 2 case patients who worked on different flight sectors. Sustained transmission of norovirus is likely to have occurred because of exposures on this airplane during successive flight sectors. Airlines should make provision for adequate disinfection of airplanes with use of products effective against norovirus and other common infectious agents after vomiting has occurred.

Norovirus Vaccine against Experimental Human Norwalk Virus Illness
Noroviruses cause epidemic and sporadic acute gastroenteritis. No vaccine is available to prevent norovirus illness or infection. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial to assess the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of an investigational, intranasally delivered norovirus viruslike particle (VLP) vaccine (with chitosan and monophosphoryl lipid A as adjuvants) to prevent acute viral gastroenteritis after challenge with a homologous viral strain, Norwalk virus (genotype GI.1). Healthy adults 18 to 50 years of age received two doses of either vaccine or placebo and were subsequently inoculated with Norwalk virus and monitored for infection and gastroenteritis symptoms. Ninety-eight persons were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive vaccine (50 participants) or placebo (48 participants), and 90 received both doses (47 participants in the vaccine group and 43 in the placebo group). The most commonly reported symptoms after vaccination were nasal stuffiness, nasal discharge, and sneezing. Adverse events occurred with similar frequency among vaccine and placebo recipients. A Norwalk virus–specific IgA seroresponse (defined as an increase by a factor of 4 in serum antibody levels) was detected in 70% of vaccine recipients. Seventy-seven of 84 participants inoculated with Norwalk virus were included in the per-protocol analysis. Vaccination significantly reduced the frequencies of Norwalk virus gastroenteritis (occurring in 69% of placebo recipients vs. 37% of vaccine recipients, P=0.006) and Norwalk virus infection (82% of placebo recipients vs. 61% of vaccine recipients, P=0.05). This norovirus VLP vaccine provides protection against illness and infection after challenge with a homologous virus. (Funded by LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals and the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00973284.)
Parasite manipulation of host behavior previously: Deciphering the Tools of Nature’s Zombies
posted by Blasdelb (120 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
The doors of Aberdeen's Music Hall opened around 7.30pm. In dribs and drabs, the crowd began trekking up the venue's steps and into the warm belly of the hall. That evening last May was the first night of the Charlatans' warm-up tour - a long-awaited gig attracting a young and gleeful crowd of about 1,500. At one point, fairly early in the evening, someone was sick on the steps, but the crowd trudged on and up the stairs regardless.

Five hundred people fell ill after the gig - struck down by the nausea, vomiting and aching muscles that characterise winter vomiting disease. The most probable explanation, an inquiry for Aberdeen council found this week, is that germs from the vomit on the hall steps were carried into the venue in the rush of gig-goers and redistributed by the Music Hall's air-conditioning system. A solitary vomiting attack releases about 30 million virus particles; a mere 100 are needed to be infectious.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2005/jan/25/popandrock.healthandwellbeing
posted by borges at 12:35 PM on January 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


When I have to scroll twice to see the first comment, I already know who posted this thread.

(That's a good thing, by the way. Unless you're me, hoping to get anything done.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:36 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Turns out that "Blasdelb" was onomatopoeia the whole time.
posted by theodolite at 12:41 PM on January 3, 2013 [29 favorites]


In which Charlie Brooker expresses his desire for a norovirus vaccine.
posted by John Shaft at 12:42 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes stuff does come roaring out...
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:46 PM on January 3, 2013


I feel nauseous just reading this post. Thanks for posting... I think.
posted by zarq at 12:48 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, now I know what I had a few weeks ago. And it's as nasty as advertised. Puking and shitting yourself repeatedly is an understatement. And muscle seizures come when you feel like there's not a drop of liquid left in your system. Thankfully it was gone after about 48 hours.
posted by prepmonkey at 12:49 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not an article I want to read two days before boarding a two-week cruise.
posted by hwyengr at 12:49 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, at the same exact time as this MeFi story, this Videogum story came across my RSS feed: Puking Robot Is My Favorite Robot
posted by mrzer0 at 12:51 PM on January 3, 2013


My best friend owns and runs a day care in Connecticut, and coined the phrase "two exits, no waiting" to describe the effects when one of the kids came in with one such virus and it spread through all the rest of the kids in a single day. "It would probably have been fascinating to watch from a distance," she said.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:51 PM on January 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


Having had acute gastroenteritis and food poisoning (twice) I don't think I'll be saluting the norovirus family anytime soon. I'm just glad the houses I lived in at the time had the toilet conveniently located next to the sink.
posted by tommasz at 12:52 PM on January 3, 2013


Holy mackerel, we had a bout of that go through the family a few years ago. Kids got it. We got it. All of us, miserable together. Kids got over it pretty quick, but the two of us were knocked around hard for a few days. It was enough to really get folks who hole up in fear of germs and whatnot.

I hear 'norovirus' now and just shudder.
posted by jquinby at 1:00 PM on January 3, 2013


And norovirus is now being recognized as a potential trigger for post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which means that that 48-hour bug could be making your life unpleasant for much longer than 48 hours.
posted by pie ninja at 1:02 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really hope all this norovirus information I've seen going (heh) viral through various news outlets over the last few weeks means people are becoming more informed, because if I have to endure one more person who comes into the office looking pale and sweaty with a tale of how they were up all night praying to the porcelain gods I'm going to just invest in a HAZMAT suit and be done with it.

Contagious for up to 48 hours after last symptoms, folks! Go home! Stay there! Wash your hands! Stop touching the photocopier!
posted by fight or flight at 1:07 PM on January 3, 2013 [22 favorites]


Years ago, this came on when I was rip-roaring drunk. The next 12 hours or so were unquestionably the most miserable I've ever spent. Stuff coming out of both ends was the least traumatic part -- the muscular agony and dehydration were far more excruciating. Given that the alcohol was already likely dehydrating me, I probably should have gotten to the emergency room, but there was no way I could have gotten there on my own strength, and I was so delirious I barely comprehended what was happening to me. The thought of calling an ambulance crossed my mind many times, but there's no way I could footed the bill and stupidly-polite me didn't feel comfortable calling a friend for help.

Ugh. This virus is a truly a menace, and I'm not surprised to hear about how terrifying efficient it is.
posted by treepour at 1:07 PM on January 3, 2013


I am seriously feeling sick after reading this. I think norovirus might be transmitted conceptually.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:07 PM on January 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


Thanks for that link, pie ninja. Now I think I have an answer for the Uncomfortable Spring of '11 (shortly following the Worst Christmas Ever).
posted by fight or flight at 1:10 PM on January 3, 2013


Wondering why similar agents haven't decimated industrial hog farms, I Googled 'norovirus "hog farms"' and found pages claiming that Norovirus first popped up in an Ohio town near a big hog farm.

According to the Wikipedia page on Norovirus:
Norwalk virus is known as winter vomiting virus, which was originally named after Norwalk, Ohio, in the United States, where an outbreak of acute viral gastroenteritis occurred among children at Bronson Elementary School in November 1968
posted by jamjam at 1:11 PM on January 3, 2013


if i had thought to put a big piece of paper under me as i crouched prostrate, i could have made some intriguing and roughly symmetrical modern art...
posted by ennui.bz at 1:13 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ohio!
posted by slogger at 1:13 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Contagious for up to 48 hours after last symptoms, folks! Go home! Stay there!

I am very sympathetic to this point of view, so please tell this to all the companies that don't give sick days.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:17 PM on January 3, 2013 [29 favorites]


I was once in a quarantine for norovirus with about 350 other people. I didn't get it either. Should have bought a lottery ticket.
posted by StoicRomance at 1:19 PM on January 3, 2013


This went around my folks' house last week when all my siblings and their S.O.s were there for the holidays- my mom was Patient Zero and then nine others fell in quick succession. And they made fun of me for being leery of visiting for a day or two! I have sent them the link along with a sentence of righteous indignation. :)
posted by charmedimsure at 1:19 PM on January 3, 2013


I may be the only person gets a smile on their face at the mention of norovirus. if only because the few norovirus challenge studies my office has overseen (including a version of the Ligocyte vax trial mentioned above) are the source of much mirth. Because the symptoms (in otherwise healthy people) are manageable, not life threatening, and intensely gross, some measure of detached clinical professionalism has a tendency to slip. Its a bit surreal to see a room full of physicians, lawyers, and otherwise Very Serious People all prodding each other volunteer for a clinical trial with the same sort of puerile giddiness of being dared to swallow a bug on the playground.

The other reason studies with norovirus challenges (i.e. actually being exposed to the virus) get a lot of attention is that they're well compensated. Because the infection is transient and really just requires a lot of supervision of electrolyte/hydration levels, it's one of the few vaccine trials where deliberate exposure is built into the study design. HIV vax trials, to use a glaringly obvious example, don't have a phase where subjects get injected with the virus.

Because the symptoms are so... dramatic, though, researchers tend to allot lavish amounts for subject compensation. Participation throughout the Ligocyte trial at my institution, for instance, would have earned you $1500, with the bulk of that coming after a 4-day inpatient stay following chugging down a cup of virus-laden water.
posted by Panjandrum at 1:19 PM on January 3, 2013 [28 favorites]


Oh god! We both got this when our kids were very little. Worse than getting it: having it at the same time as your spouse. I felt like I'd been stabbed in the gut. No one would come help us because they didn't want it.

At one point, I was lying on the cool bathroom floor, crying, and wondering where my husband was and why he wasn't helping me. I found out later that he was lying on the upstairs bathroom floor, crying.

Gross!

Fast-forward about eight years to me sitting down to lunch at my grandfather’s nursing home, where they announce that there has been a norovirus outbreak and we should all be careful. I felt like they were serving big clumps of pure virus. Great diet aid. Cue germophobia!
posted by theredpen at 1:20 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


please tell this to all the companies that don't give sick days.

Yeah, I kind of want to find whoever is responsible for deciding that the health and wellbeing of employees is worth less than money on the clock and rub their face in a norovirus infected handkerchief. See how they like it.
posted by fight or flight at 1:20 PM on January 3, 2013 [9 favorites]


StoicRomance, maybe you're one of the lucky few genetically resistant to the virus.
posted by fight or flight at 1:22 PM on January 3, 2013


"Ohio!"

For clarity, to Norwalk virus almost certainly didn't originate there, just was first described there. There has been a lot of discussion in the academic community over whether the Norovirus actually is emerging (genuinely new to humans) and the rough consensus is probably not:
Zahorsky J Hyperemesis heimis or the winter vomiting disease. Arch Pediatr. 1929;46:391.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:23 PM on January 3, 2013


Participation throughout the Ligocyte trial at my institution, for instance, would have earned you $1500, with the bulk of that coming after a 4-day inpatient stay following chugging down a cup of virus-laden water.

This sounds like the pre-credits sequence for an episode of Always Sunny.
posted by theodolite at 1:23 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


if I have to endure one more person who comes into the office looking pale and sweaty with a tale of how they were up all night praying to the porcelain gods I'm going to just invest in a HAZMAT suit and be done with it

We have practically unlimited sick days at my office and people still come in when they're unbelievably repulsively sick and by god if I had my way they would all be taken out back and fucking shot. SHOT I TELL YOU.
posted by elizardbits at 1:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [20 favorites]


But what if the shooting squad came in sick?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:31 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I almost died from Norovirus when I was about 3. I couldn't keep anything down, and ended up severely dehydrated. I spent a couple of days in the hospital getting fluids from an IV, which saved my little life.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:33 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ya, our one year old got this on Thanksgiving. Her parents and grandparents quickly succumbed. Death was fervently wished for.

A few years ago, my friend got this from her niece while pregnant. The resulting dehydration triggered a premature birth and much worry. It's gross and darkly funny, until it's not.
posted by snickerdoodle at 1:33 PM on January 3, 2013


But what if the shooting squad came in sick?

cyborgs
posted by elizardbits at 1:35 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am unable to even handle the thought of taking Pepto-Bismol after a round of this in which I chugged some pepto, then threw up in my work parking lot as I was getting in my car to get home. There was a pink stain next to my parking space for several months. Somehow that was much grosser than any of the other nastiness I endured while I was sick.

Worse than getting it: having it at the same time as your spouse.

It's not quite so bad if the kids are also sick - you have horrible messes to clean up and you have to make sure they're getting plenty of liquids. But when both parents are down but the kids are fine and running around getting into stuff and expecting to be fed occasionally - brutal.
posted by Dojie at 1:39 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


A lot of the working-while-sick happens because people either don't have any leave or are afraid to take leave for fear of looking like slackers.

Or you could have my company, which just lectured us on why we are not allowed to work at home for any reason despite the fact that we easily could. Not for any good reason, we just aren't. It's "not policy." So if you are sick but functional and would like to keep up while sitting on the couch, too bad. If you've used up your days, too bad. You gotta come in or take a pay cut.

Pure idiocy.
posted by emjaybee at 1:40 PM on January 3, 2013


I always think of norovirus when I visit homes that have little wicker or woven wastebaskets in their bathrooms. I'm probably too much of a planner-aheader, but I still think that having a cute but also water-tight receptacle within reach of a person sitting on the toilet is a good idea. Because once you realize you need it and don't have it, it's going to be too late.
posted by vytae at 1:41 PM on January 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


You know, I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does, the Norovirus is rather than a collection of shit-puke stories. I should probably get out more.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:41 PM on January 3, 2013 [24 favorites]


Noroviruses seem like something out of cinema. I almost don't have the heart to explain to families just how badly their efforts at containment are likely to fail when the vector is loose in the house. And often the worst phase is the 2-4 week convalescent stage, when the gastric slowing and dysfunction makes ingestion of a modest meal feel like a coiled anaconda is making it's home in your stomach.
posted by docpops at 1:44 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does, the Norovirus is rather than a collection of shit-puke stories. I should probably get out more.

The fact that people remember the number of these stories is evidence in one sense that the virus is very good at what it does. It's just illustrating that from the non-virologist perspective.
posted by solarion at 1:45 PM on January 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Sorry -- I was actually fascinated by the science, too.
posted by theredpen at 1:46 PM on January 3, 2013


maybe you're one of the lucky few genetically resistant to the virus.

I am! At least, according to 23andMe.com, I am. Not like I'm going to be chugging any cups of virus laden water anytime soon though.

There was a horrible "stomach flu" going around Baltimore a couple of weeks ago. Lots of people came down with something that sounds a lot like norovirus. At the same time that half the city was shitting and puking, I just had body aches and a fever. Weird, right?
posted by capnsue at 1:48 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trying not to giggle too loud so I don't have to xplain what's so funny.
posted by FunkyHelix at 1:51 PM on January 3, 2013


You know, I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does, the Norovirus is rather than a collection of shit-puke stories. I should probably get out more.

Really? Heh.

But, seriously, great post, and quite timely (been a lot of the '24 hour flu' / 'winter vomiting sickness' thing around these parts lately, not sure how I escaped). Its given me good material for our weekly safety discussions. Although my employer is incredibly short sighted and silly and will compete with anyone for typical MegaCorp stupidity, they're very good on illness. I've gotten scolded quite a bit for coming in with a (mild) cold. Frankly, before coming here, I hadn't taken a day off sick in years and years. Now, its not worth it just for the lecture.
posted by bumpkin at 1:54 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am famous among my housemate's friends as the disease vector. She went off on a camping trip shortly after I had a bout of the norovirus and she took out most of the fifty person gathering. I hold that it's not my fault. I told her, flat out, to stay away from me. and that I'd disinfected everything but my immediate environment. She insisted that she never gets sick and plonked down next to me. Guess what - she does so get sick. After I recovered I ran all of the linens through the disinfect function on the washing machine and wiped everything down with bleach solution. Sure, the house smelled like bleach for a week, but I didn't infect anyone else.
posted by Karmakaze at 1:55 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


But when both parents are down but the kids are fine and running around getting into stuff and expecting to be fed occasionally - brutal.

That happened to us. We foisted the kid off to the grandparents. Next day, the grandparents got it. (Surprisingly, the only person who was mostly ok was the kid.)
posted by Omnomnom at 1:56 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am famous among my housemate's friends as the disease vector. She went off on a camping trip shortly after I had a bout of the norovirus and she took out most of the fifty person gathering.

It's relative lack of virulence (compared to SARS, say) does argue that it's not new to us, but if it has been around, why wasn't it a major aspect of WWI and WWII?

As Karmakaze's anecdote makes inescapably clear, there must have been thousands of opportunities for massive outbreaks then.
posted by jamjam at 2:12 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seattle had a serious outbreak of norovirus about 6-7 years ago. I remember hearing on the news that one of the most common vectors of norovirus is the handles of shopping carts.

Remember this thread the next time you go to the grocery store.
posted by ErikaB at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


One Christmas this made the rounds at my in laws place. One by one we all dropped. For my part I spent 36 hrs on the floor slowly rolling from side to side in a vain effort to keep the pressure off my painfully swollen intestines. In the midst of this my father in law who has had the bug for 24 hrs goes out to a hockey game and eats a hot dog. I think he just might be the toughest mother alive.

Also that is why I refuse to eat raw oysters ever again.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2013


I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does

But Blasdelb, there's dookie and chunder stories to tell! That's not just poop, and not just vomit, BUT BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. It's an anecdote gold bile & feces mine!

To try to re-rail though, part of what makes Norwalk virus the perfect viral predator is what is described in the "Point-Source..." study (and also alluded to in the main link, which links to that study): it will wait for you to come to it. It's not just optimizing your body to spew viral particles everywhere, but when they get out into the wide open world, they stick around and scoff at your attempts at disinfection.

Even OCD Purel users are somewhat powerless in the face of norovirus, as seen in Effectiveness of Liquid Soap and Hand Sanitizer against Norwalk Virus on Contaminated Hands, (more lay friendly summary here), which basically concluded that a thorough handwashing followed by a longer than usual application of a strong ethanol sanitizer was the only way to be sure. Short of autoclaving your hands of course, but that has it's own drawbacks.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:16 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, and this is either the best or the worst time to relay an maxim from an old epidemiology professor: Assume everything around you is covered in a thin layer of fecal matter.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:18 PM on January 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Viruses are proof that if God did create evolution, he's a complete bastard. Here's this damn clump of molecules, massively efficient at reproducing by a means which actually requires inflicting misery on the actually-alive, and not fucking alive itself in any other sense of the word. It's as if you ran a proper organism through an optimizer and stripped it of everything except the ability to make copies of itself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:21 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's as if you ran a proper organism through an optimizer and stripped it of everything except the ability to make copies of itself.

That is pretty much all an organism is for, though.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:26 PM on January 3, 2013


Best way I've heard norivirus described: for the first two hours you're afraid you're going to die. After that you're afraid you're not going to.
posted by azpenguin at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


Norovirus has been a real problem for the cruise liner industry. Every now and then you read about one of those cruiser liners where suddenly a large percentage of the guests and crew end up sick as dogs. The ship comes back to port and they do a full-scale disinfect on the whole thing.

It's been a while since I last heard of that happening; maybe they figured out a longer term solution. But for a while that was happening multiple times per summer.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:30 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's like your stomach is full of angry weasel demons and they want to leave your body any way they can and at the highest speed possible, with every tooth and claw extended.
posted by elizardbits at 2:32 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


And somehow it's still better than amoebic dysentery.
posted by elizardbits at 2:35 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Vaccination significantly reduced the frequencies of Norwalk virus gastroenteritis (occurring in 69% of placebo recipients vs. 37% of vaccine recipients, P=0.006)

Quick question, what does P mean exactly? Also why would 69% of placebo recipients get Norwalk in a study? Do people actually volunteer to be infected with something brutal like this?
posted by crapmatic at 2:37 PM on January 3, 2013


" It's relative lack of virulence (compared to SARS, say) does argue that it's not new to us, but if it has been around, why wasn't it a major aspect of WWI and WWII?"

Oh but it was, though significantly less so than for previous wars such as our Civil War where one in 4 deaths was caused by dysentery. Armies having access to Germ Theory and modern sanitation allowed them to begin to tackle diarrheal disease and they did so with an extraordinary amount of fervor if only because it lost battles like nothing else. Even during the North African Campaign in WWII Montgomery said the Eighth Army won, but Rommel claimed the victory for dysentery.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:37 PM on January 3, 2013


From a scientific perspective, I find this very, very cool. From a humanist perspective, I find it very, very scary. And of course, it's all so viscerally fascinating, too. Thanks for the post.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:40 PM on January 3, 2013


crapmatic: The P value is an estimate of how likely the result is to be the result of random chance. Let's say I flip a coin twice and it comes up heads both times: I can say the coin always comes up heads, but my P value is terrible, indicating that an evenly-weighted coin might well have given the same result. If I flip a coin 1000 times and it always comes up heads, my study has the same result ("always heads") but a much better (smaller) P value.
posted by hattifattener at 2:42 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


That is close but not quite it hattifattener,

"Quick question, what does P mean exactly?"

The P-value is a statistical measure of the significance of data. It is defined roughly as the probability of obtaining a test statistic at least as extreme as the one that was actually observed, assuming that the null hypothesis (That your thinking is bullshit) is true. That the P-value they obtained is so low indicated that what their data seems to indicate is in fact quite significant and not likely to be the result of random chance.

The P-Value Explained.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:45 PM on January 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: The Queen Mary 2 just had a norovirus outbreak (201 cases). Also, here's a CDC list of norovirus outbreaks (and other GI illness) on cruises, by year. Terrifying.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:52 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, when I lived in the Mediterranean, the worst local outbreaks always coincided with the arrival of a cruise ship, aka the Floating Shit Palace.
posted by elizardbits at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm listening to this and washing my hands every time I'm within 30 feet of a bathroom.

I caught a norovirus once, I thought it was the flu and stayed home, it ended with me lying face down in the carpet having just barely escaped spraying the bedroom with double ended action and being unable to must enough to get from the bathroom back t the bedroom, the TV was on and set to FX and I remember clearly thinking "oh god, the last thing I see before I die is going to be Jay Mohr's face"
posted by The Whelk at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also why would 69% of placebo recipients get Norwalk in a study? Do people actually volunteer to be infected with something brutal like this?

I had to read that a couple times too. Everybody drank the actual virus. Half the people got a placebo *vaccine*, half got the real one. So, more people who actually got the fake vaccine got sick, ergo the real vaccine had an effect.
posted by heyforfour at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2013


And muscle seizures come when you feel like there's not a drop of liquid left in your system

Oh god I am having memories now of lying in the bathroom all night unable to sleep cause I was seizing so much and so tired cause I couldn't really eat anything with just made everything worse- even after I finally got to the doctor and got like, horse pills I was basically a delicate Victorian consumption victim for another week

I would then of course forget how powerful those pills where and take them before a show thus leading to the great stage falling adventure of 09
posted by The Whelk at 3:02 PM on January 3, 2013


Chocolate Pickle and crapmatic both commenting in this thread? It's too much, really.
posted by resurrexit at 3:15 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


" It's relative lack of virulence (compared to SARS, say) does argue that it's not new to us, but if it has been around, why wasn't it a major aspect of WWI and WWII?"

Oh but it was, though significantly less so than for previous wars such as our Civil War where one in 4 deaths was caused by dysentery. Armies having access to Germ Theory and modern sanitation allowed them to begin to tackle diarrheal disease and they did so with an extraordinary amount of fervor if only because it lost battles like nothing else. Even during the North African Campaign in WWII Montgomery said the Eighth Army won, but Rommel claimed the victory for dysentery.


You choose to conflate norovirus infection and dysentery for reasons that are not clear to me.

The Wikipedia page does not mention norovirus as a cause of dysentery-- even though norovirus infection does meet the formal criteria of the definition-- focusing instead on amoebas and bacteria as causes, and Googling "norovirus dysentery" gets 22 hits.

I wasn't able to find a single reference to a claim that some particular incidence of GI illness in WWII was actually norovirus, but regardless, contemporary norovirus is so contagious and confers so little resistance to reinfection, that if it had been present in WWI or WWII, it would likely have overwhelmed all other causes of dysentery and very possibly have swept back and forth through the armies of the combatants in unceasing waves.
posted by jamjam at 3:15 PM on January 3, 2013


I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does

Speaking as another survivor,that ain't how the bug works. If you've experienced the symptoms, you can't think about anything else. You can admire some viruses, but not a virus that does that to you. It's like admiring the strength of the mugger who beat you up.

I would rather have any other disease I've ever had in my life than have norovirus again. But it's so virulent, it's almost impossible not to catch. The two together is enough to create existential despair, no philosophers required.
posted by Kit W at 3:16 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is where small NYC apartment bathrooms come in super handy because you can just lean over to puke in the sink while your ass explodes on the toilet.

also handy for sunday morning tequila syndrome
posted by elizardbits at 3:36 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


All I can think of is this scene from Family Guy.

how's everybody doin?
posted by zippy at 3:39 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


I got this about ten years ago on December 22. Christmas was cancelled as a result. My parents were afraid of getting it - especially my mother, who did Christmas Eve dinner (for 20 that year, expectedly) - and all the trouble.

My mother did not in fact get it. My father, however, did.

It hit me at work, and I told my manager over the phone (he was in a different location), and he told me to go home and not worry about it. A $70 cab ride later (thank you public transport and shuttles from the stations; I had to cab home because it wasn't going to work otherwise) I got home, showered, yarked again, and climbed into bed, where I promptly passed out hard and slept for 8 hours or so. Had a little toast, then slept again. and again. a little toast, a little water, sleep.

Wake up late on the 23rd to this horrible sound that I thought was my mother yarking. No. it was my father, who got it hitting him far worse than it hit me. He got the dehydration spasms and all that.

It was the not-goodest Christmas of the first decade of the 21st century.
posted by mephron at 3:43 PM on January 3, 2013


Had it five years ago. NEVER AGAIN!*

*Will probably get it again
posted by drezdn at 3:44 PM on January 3, 2013


And muscle seizures come when you feel like there's not a drop of liquid left in your system

You know, I actually heard a much more elegant term for this when I was in Ireland once (I had these symptoms due to food poisoning, and my friend and her Mom looked after me for the night) - at some point, my friend's mom remarked that I must be nearing the end of my turmoil because it seemed that I wasn't actually puking any more, it was just "empty reaching."

I remember briefly thinking "that sounds so much nicer than 'dry heaves', actually" before I had to dash to the bathroom yet again.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:44 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"retching"
posted by glasseyes at 3:49 PM on January 3, 2013


"Speaking as another survivor,that ain't how the bug works. If you've experienced the symptoms, you can't think about anything else. You can admire some viruses, but not a virus that does that to you. It's like admiring the strength of the mugger who beat you up."

Heh, I have actually gotten this, though when I did my ex was pretty astounded that I couldn't stop going on about how my intestinal lining was totally lysing or how the drop of poo I left on the carpet in my mad scramble to the toilet was totally how it was intending to spread as I rapidly desiccated naked and leaning on the sink switching every so often between which end was pointed towards the commode. By way of the analogy, if this were a mugger it would be one that could Kung Fu movie style deftly poke you in just the right pressure point to convince you to withdraw as much of your money (poop/puke/fluids) as possible within 48 hours but leave you alive and capable of making more a few years later when it came back.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:56 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even if we can't cure it, why won't my doctor put me in a coma for a few days or shoot me up with painkillers, stimulants, anti-emetics, and something to induce constipation? I'll sign any waivers.
posted by floam at 3:58 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had this about four weeks ago. I have never been so sick. It was almost a religious experience. I have been through the crucible, purified by the refining flame of experiencing my body trying for days to shit my kidneys out because there's nothing left. AS I AM EMPTIED OF FLUID I BECOME EMPTIED OF SIN. SHAKING UNCONTROLLABLY LIKE A MAN POSSESSED. MY FEVER DREAMS PROPHESY UNTELLABLE TRUTHS THAT I SCRAWL ON THE BATHROOM WALLPAPER IN STUTTERED MOMENTS OF RELATIVE LUCIDITY. IF I AM EVER HEALTHY AGAIN I THINK THAT I SHOULD LIKE TO LEARN KUNG FU OR MAYBE TAI CHI. I'M GOING TO BE NICER TO PEOPLE AND SMILE WHEN I TALK TO THEM. MAYBE I'LL DO A PAINTING CLASS.
posted by Wataki at 4:02 PM on January 3, 2013 [21 favorites]


I think I can feel it coming on right now, touch of nausea, bowel trouble. My apologies to the people I'll be flying with on Sunday.
posted by Damienmce at 4:03 PM on January 3, 2013


(Basically, I'd like a Pink Floyd-style A-Team to swoop in.)
posted by floam at 4:09 PM on January 3, 2013


I haven't vomited in twenty three years. I dread the norovirus which ends my streak. I can feel it lurking out there, watching and waiting.

It's coming.
posted by Justinian at 4:10 PM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Speaking as another survivor,that ain't how the bug works. If you've experienced the symptoms, you can't think about anything else. You can admire some viruses, but not a virus that does that to you. It's like admiring the strength of the mugger who beat you up.

Yes. Christmas 2011. I never again want to be in the position of not knowing which end of my body to point at the toilet.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 4:13 PM on January 3, 2013


Can any mefi medics comment? I got norovirus hipster style this year, proper clear out, then I got migraines for 4 of the next 5 Wednesdays. This is more than a year's supply typically. Likely to be cause or just correlation? Also very dry eyes - what's that about?
posted by biffa at 4:27 PM on January 3, 2013


This virus is why I insist on always having a plastic wastebasket. None of those mesh wastebaskets for me. No siree. I want to be able to utilize the unpatented open source dual output capture system that I have devised having had several bouts with virii of this ilk.
posted by srboisvert at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2013


I recently noted some related eggcorns: novovirus, novavirus, nonovirus.
posted by larrybob at 4:35 PM on January 3, 2013


Oh fuck fuck fuck, just loaded up a local news website, to find: Norovirus spreading in Portland area.
posted by floam at 4:49 PM on January 3, 2013


Whimper is coming!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:53 PM on January 3, 2013 [7 favorites]


then I got migraines for 4 of the next 5 Wednesdays

idk about the scheduling here but dehydration can definitely trigger migraines.

ianad, which i assume should be obvious by now
posted by elizardbits at 5:00 PM on January 3, 2013


There have been outbreaks in hospitals this winter in Osaka and Yokohama. I'm happy to be at home on winter holiday, but Monday I go back to teaching junior high school. I'm not thrilled about the prospect.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:32 PM on January 3, 2013


I certainly benefitted from having a bathtub directly opposite the commode. The other thing that struck me was how suddenly it came on. I'd been pretty much fine at midnight when I went to bed. Then 4am rolled by and holy cow! I'm reasonably sure when I was exposed, so it was something like a 30 hour incubation period. I think that's another part of the problem - you can go pretty far before you realize you're a plague carrier.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:38 PM on January 3, 2013


Noro sucks. Tokyo had an outbreak in December this year, which one of the kids took home to share with everyone. I had not thrown up since 1989 before then. My record, ruined!
posted by lundman at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2013


Interesting that rotavirus has the same symptoms, but seems to be unrelated.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:03 PM on January 3, 2013


Christmas 2006 with my one year old visiting my parents and she was the first to get it. Had enough warning to save their couch but I ruined my shirt. Hospital visits for me and my mother. Missed our flights home.

When someone comes in sick to work I literally shake with anger now.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 6:39 PM on January 3, 2013


Both this and John Boehner ... thanks a lot, Ohio.
posted by jferg at 7:07 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even more fun than the norovirus at home is getting it when you are camping at high schools with 800 other people. I was one of the statistics in 2006 when a bunch of riders on Biking Across Kansas (pdf report) got sick. I caught it the last night of the trip, and was laying on the floor of a school bathroom just wishing I would die. Fortunately I was feeling better by the next afternoon and was able to make the 6 hour car ride back home without stopping every five minutes, although I slept like the dead.

First time I've ever been a part of a state health department investigation. Hopefully it will be the last.
posted by weathergal at 8:58 PM on January 3, 2013


Benzethonium Chloride kills norovirus, y'all!

In the U.S., you can find it in Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes and Gold Bond Ultimate Hand Sanitizer Moisturizer. There's a lot more info, including products sold outside the U.S., on the online cruise travel forums (not surprisingly).

Good luck out there.
posted by argonauta at 9:47 PM on January 3, 2013 [10 favorites]


In lieu of soap and water, what about alcohol wipes? I kinda steer clear of weird chemicals these days (including the ubiquitous triclosan).
posted by crapmatic at 11:11 PM on January 3, 2013


OK, prepare to be horrified: I generally don't wash my hands except after using the lavatory (and I have a king-size bladder, so that's not that often; I do shower once or twice a day, of course). I eat nothing but finger food; I rarely wash my hands before eating. All that said, I rarely get sick (once in the past 15 years, knock on wood). Does this suggest some sort of genetic temperament which favors my immune system, or the theory I heard (how good a theory it might be is open to question, of course) that constant low-level exposure to bugs helps keep your immune system in decent condition?

Interestingly enough, I was constantly sick as a child.

I've had a bacterial-caused food poisoning episode once, which was pretty miserable (especially since Madagascar immediately closed its port), but that's about it. I do occasionally feel mildly unwell, which makes me wonder if I indeed get something that's going around but have a much more muted response to it.

(My wife is jealous, admiring, and I suspect a bit frustrated by this privilege I enjoy. I suspect it will all end with me dying in a disgusting pool of my own offal after coming down every known infectious disease at once, in divine payback--probably after posting a comment like this.)
posted by maxwelton at 11:34 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Had this over Thanksgiving (never had Thanksgiving) and I still can't eat right and have stomach pain. Threw up last week, have an appt w/ gastro guy next week. The most amazing part was the projectile vomiting -- real Exorcist-level firehose style. At one point I felt suddenly sick, sat up in bed to grab my trusty plastic coffee can, and before I could reach for it, I -- emitted -- a stream of vomit that hit the bookcase six feet away. Later that day I made it to the bathroom door and shot a stream a good five feet to the commode. It was like being trapped in some horrible cartoon.
posted by words1 at 11:47 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sounds like the pre-credits sequence for an episode of Always Sunny.

MAC: So what you're saying is that for $1500 all I have to do is drink some germ water and take a few tests at the U. Penn. hospital?
CHARLIE: Well, yeah, basically, but the germs make you feel really shitty for a couple of days.
MAC: Well, obviously a normal person who doesn't work out three times a week doesn't stand a chance against concentrated germ water. But come on. Look at me. This'll be a piece of cake.
FRANK: The bar is still hemorrhaging money. Thanks to you guys' latest fuckup, we don't have enough to cover this month's mortgage bill of $5800. If you can't come up with the money, the bar's gonna go under for good.
CHARLIE: Wait a minute... bar... germ water... $1500... I think I have an idea!
SWEET DEE: This better not involve Greenman.
CHARLIE: No, look, we each sign up for this Norovirus study, and in 32 hours we each walk away with $1500 in cold hard cash. That should be more than enough to cover the mortgage—we might even have enough left over to buy a Road House pinball machine for the bar!
DENNIS: How many times do I have to tell you, we are never buying a Road House pinball machine for the bar.
FRANK: I don't care how you do it—steal it, borrow it, sell your bodies to science, whatever—but I need that money by Friday.
SWEET DEE: Woah, woah, woah. You guys are seriously considering volunteering as guinea pigs for some kind of medical experiment? Are you out of your minds? There's no way I'm going to be involved in any part of this.

"THE GANG GETS INJECTED WITH NOROVIRUS"
posted by dephlogisticated at 12:36 AM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


a 4-day inpatient stay following chugging down a cup of virus-laden water

Not like I'm going to be chugging any cups of virus laden water anytime soon though

After listening to a quick spot about the virus on Radio 4 yesterday, I can reassure you that nobody will be chugging cups of virus-laden water. The trials, in fact, involve you chugging down cups of extremely dilute diarrhea.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:56 AM on January 4, 2013


Norovirus has been a real problem for the cruise liner industry. Every now and then you read about one of those cruiser liners where suddenly a large percentage of the guests and crew end up sick as dogs.

Cruisecritic's advice page on norovirus

A friend who was on an infected ship confirmed to me tales of not being allowed to serve oneself food, the disappearance of salt and pepper shakers from the tables and the very strong insistence that anybody infected must be quarantined to their cabin. Staff members were also placed in each elevator and they would select the floor that passengers required. All of this (plus the disinfection) must cost the cruise ship companies dear - but not as much as cancelling the cruise and paying out compensation would, I suspect.

It is a better hygiene regime than most offices, however.
posted by rongorongo at 1:00 AM on January 4, 2013


You know, I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does, the Norovirus is rather than a collection of shit-puke stories. I should probably get out more.

I for one really appreciate these scientific posts even though/exactly because it's not my area of expertise.
posted by ersatz at 4:52 AM on January 4, 2013


In lieu of soap and water, what about alcohol wipes? I kinda steer clear of weird chemicals these days (including the ubiquitous triclosan).

They are better than nothing, but not be fooled into thinking they are as good as handwashing. Alcohol will kill most bacteria and viruses that it can get in contact with. But hands are porous and those things can find good hiding places. Plus, it's not like the dead germs actually go anywhere. You are still walking around with mostly sterile fecal matter on your hands.

That's why you want to do both: handwashing removes 99% of the germs, and sanitizer kills 99% of what's left.
posted by gjc at 5:44 AM on January 4, 2013


If you want science, Blasdelb, then I propose Vomiting Larry which has just been announced by a team of British scientists as a means for studying the spread of puked out norovirus. Yes there is a video!
posted by rongorongo at 5:47 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Norovirus - with a bang AND a whimper.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:59 AM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does, the Norovirus is rather than a collection of shit-puke stories.

It's never really a good plan to post something with a preconceived assumption of how the thread will go, obvsly. You'll just end up disappointed and covered in poop stories.
posted by elizardbits at 6:02 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


tl/tg;dr, and only skimmed the comments. Yuk.

[personal norwalk anecdote omitted]

Changing the subject slightly, there is also apparently a hard-hitting flu going around this winter. Here in Canada, annual flu vaccinations are free, widely available, and pushed fairly aggressively. Is it the same in the US and elsewhere?

(Personally I'm a fan of the flu shot; they seem to confer protection and I've only ever had minor side effects like a sore arm for a few days)
posted by Artful Codger at 7:30 AM on January 4, 2013


Flu shots are not free in the US.

They may be available for free for some people in some places, and aren't very expensive in others. The company I work for provides them free for employees as do many companies. Medical insurance probably makes it cheap for many others. Medicare (government single payer system for the elderly) does pay for it without a co-pay as far as I can tell. Medicaid (government single payer system for very poor) covers it for children, but maybe not adults.

It is widely available through many major pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens and mega stores like Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club and of course doctor's offices, clinics, etc.

I've noticed that it's become much more common and visible (to me), so it seems like it is pushed fairly aggressively.

The answer to your question is fairly complicated as the US doesn't really have A Healthcare System. It either has none or many depending how you look at it. Each state may have its own variation of things and many working people/families are covered by private insurance provided by/subsidized by their employer. Bottom line, anyone who can get to the right store can pay $20-30 out of pocket to get a shot. Many people can get them cheaper and quite a few can get them for free.
posted by jclarkin at 7:54 AM on January 4, 2013


Flu shots are (i think?) about $30 at Duane Reades all over NYC. I'm not sure what the price would be if you had insurance, maybe less?
posted by elizardbits at 9:45 AM on January 4, 2013


Flu shots were free at my work for three days; unfortunately those were three days when I had a cold, so I wasn't allowed to get a flu shot. Same thing happened to my kid at his school--he was sick the day they went for free shots and that's your only time to get them. We had the option of 20-30 dollars a pop at the drug store or a doctor visit each (25/copay) to get them instead.

What's that? It would improve productivity and raise profits for all companies (as well as reduce disease and mortality) if flu shots were available for free in lots of places all the time? Only a communist/socialist/Canadian would think that, duh.

I keep waiting to get the norovirus; I had several bouts as a teen that were either this or food poisoning, but haven't for some reason as an adult, despite having a germ riddled child in my house. I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Good thing I've already got my plastic wastebaskets.
posted by emjaybee at 10:03 AM on January 4, 2013


I get a flu shot at a grocery store with a pharmacy; you also get a coupon for a discount on your next shop. So it ends up being dirt cheap since I save up and do a ton of shopping at once.

The anti-vaxxers have a lot to answer for with their proselytizing against flu vaccines.
posted by Justinian at 10:28 AM on January 4, 2013


I have somehow never gotten the flu, even though I've rarely gotten the vaccine. Also never had Norovirus to my knowledge (my doctor and I are used to my being kind of a freak); something I had as a kid may have been, but I'm not sure.

Food poisoning is something else again. That happened twice.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:31 AM on January 4, 2013


You know, I honestly expected this thread to be all about how incredibly cool, and just so fantastically perfect at what it does

– You still don't understand what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
– You admire it.
– I admire its purity. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
– Look, I am... I've heard enough of this, and I'm asking you to pull the plug.
– Last word.
– What?
– I can't lie to you about your chances, but... you have my sympathies.
posted by zippy at 4:50 PM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Working in a tourist town, with large groups of older visitors packed 40+ in a rolling tour bus for extended periods of time, the Norovirus is all too real of a threat.

Several years ago the health department put together a presentation about how to combat the virus, and there was a key diagram that has haunted me to this day. Basically, they had a case study of a person vomiting at a dinner event. They had information on each guest and where they were seated, and with followup were able to chart who fell ill in the week after exposure. It was an exact target design - those within 10 feet of the "incident" were something around 90%. Every additional 10 feet lowered the effect, but it was still ridiculously high.

I react to a public sickness as if the Norovirus is seeking me out by name. The lighting director I work with, who also worked at the presentation, reacts the same way. On one of our final nights of work this season in the production booth, someone got sick about 30 feet below us and we covered our faces like we were escaping a fire.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:45 PM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Back when I worked for a University I got norwalk twice in one winter (and not before or since thank god). I literally wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. The only good thing about about the second bout is that I knew the progression which was bad when it first started but was good once it got into full swing 'cause I knew it was going to end.
posted by Mitheral at 1:32 AM on January 5, 2013


welp

pretty sure this fucking thread infected me with something

i am experiencing a mighty rumble in the jungle
posted by elizardbits at 12:02 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You could've just swallowed a die antword song.
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 PM on January 10, 2013


i am experiencing a mighty rumble in the jungle

I told you no good would come of that George Foreman grill.
posted by zippy at 11:57 AM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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