Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hygiene rules

The June issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases has an investigation of a norovirus outbreak among a soccer team (free full text here). The index case experienced nausea and vomiting in a hotel bathroom. The other cases had no contact with the index case or the bathroom after she became symptomatic. However, a reusable grocery bag with packaged cookies, chips and grapes was stored in the bathroom while the index case was ill. Even though the index case had no physical contact with the bag or its contents, it nonetheless became contaminated with norovirus, presumably via aerosolization of the virus during vomiting or defecation or via flushing of the toilet.While some media reports focused on the reusable aspect of the grocery bag, it seems likely that a disposable grocery bag would have become contaminated as well. The moral of the story is a simple one: don't store food in the bathroom!

Photo: Colorado Restaurant Consulting

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