As of Monday afternoon, a total of 194 cases of norovirus infections have been confirmed since the outbreak at the Olympic Winter Games last week, organizers of the Pyeongchang Olympics said.
The highly contagious virus, which is known to cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, last week spread quickly among security guards, police officers and food handlers.
Currently, 47 patients are quarantined, with another 147 having recovered and returned to work.
There have not been reports of any sick athletes yet.
The organizing committee said in a statement that a survey of tap water, food staff and food items is under way to trace the route of transmission.
⚠️ #PyeongChang2018 - Over 200 cases of #Norovirus have been reported at the site of the #WinterOlympics leading to an emergency campaign to remind visitors to wash their hands thoroughly, especially after using the toilet, and before eating. pic.twitter.com/bGo0LOWIh2— Traveller Assist (@TravellerSOS) 12 February 2018
What is a norovirus?
The norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Infection is characterized by diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, however fever and headaches may also occur.
The virus is usually spread by contaminated food or water or by person-to-person contact.
Symptoms usually surface between 12 hours and two days after exposure.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment to combat norovirus. Recovery usually occurs within 1 to 3 days.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus “leads to an estimated 50,000 child deaths every year, nearly all of which occur in developing countries.”
Proper hand washing and disinfection of contaminated surfaces can prevent the spreading of the virus.