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mountain squid
02-18-2015, 17:37
Last year (2014), the norovirus was not as prevalent on the trail as it had been in previous years. Of course, that doesn't mean that the virus is not still a possibility. With numerous hikers congregating closely together (especially at shelters), the virus can still spread quickly. I just wanted to get the word out again and encourage this year's hikers to take necessary precautions.


From ATC's website at Appalachiantrail.org (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/trail-updates):

Outbreaks of norovirus have occurred at various locations on the A.T. the last two years in a row, with the northbound thru-hiker "bubble" disproportionately affected. This year, scattered reports of stomach bug illness have been received along the A.T. from North Carolina to central Virginia, and recently, in Shenandoah National Park. Due to a relatively low number of reports in any one location, hikers have not been tested and norovirus has not been confirmed.

Hygiene measures such as hand-washing, avoiding sharing of food, and prompt reporting are critical in helping prevent an outbreak or containing one should it occur. For more information and a downloadable poster, click here (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs/default-document-library/norovirus-atc-poster-2-14-14-color.pdf?sfvrsn=0). (A new poster should be forthcoming soon.)


From Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Norovirus/)'s website:

Norovirus causes many people to become ill with vomiting and diarrhea each year. You can help protect yourself and others by washing your hands often and following simple tips to stay healthy.

For more detailed information about norovirus, please visit CDC's website (http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/) (there is alot of good info there).


Keep your hands clean and stay well out there!

See you on the trail,
mt squid

Donde
02-18-2015, 18:16
NOBOvirus is another good reason to do like the signs say: Appalachian Trail Maine to Georgia

The Kisco Kid
02-18-2015, 19:12
Also - PURELL DOES NOT WORK AGAINST NOROVIRUS. YOU MUST WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP AND WATER!!

http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html (http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html)

Traveler
02-19-2015, 09:19
Makes me want to drink lots of unfiltered water downhill from shelters!

Lauriep
03-03-2015, 00:15
Thanks for posting this, Squid.

Here is the poster the ATC working group developed for 2015, in partnership with the CDC, Tennessee Dept. of Public Health, the National Park Service, local trail clubs, and others.

Handwashing (200 feet from water) as prevention, and reporting promptly (if you do contract norovirus) are key.

Laurie P.

shelb
03-03-2015, 00:54
Prevention:
unanimous -= HANDWASHING....

MYTH???? or not??? I have read a couple people's blogs say hand sanitizer can help if it is a certain percentage of alcohol.... I don't think this is necessarily true. Anyone to verify???

horsefarm
03-03-2015, 00:58
Anything on the statistics behind this? In what manner is it most often caught? Is managing water well the best way to defend? What are good food practices to help against the spread? I will admit that on solo trips I may go a day or two without a proper washing of my pot. Maybe just boiled water once and a wipedown. What should I do differently (or rather, exactly) to help prevent catching and/or spreading this?

Thank you for any replies!

horsefarm
03-03-2015, 01:01
Hand sanitizer could help by reducing the surface area on your skin (getting rid of dirt and other contaminants) which would otherwise be something for the virus to cling to? Just a thought.

In my experience, I would err towards the "overdoing it" side anyway because you'll only get lazier as time passes on a long trail.

squeezebox
03-03-2015, 02:51
Ask the idiots who don't carry TP, and then don't have soap to wash their hands. Ask them about the previlance of Noro.
Noro Marys!!

mountain squid
03-03-2015, 16:24
Anything on the statistics behind this? In what manner is it most often caught? Is managing water well the best way to defend? What are good food practices to help against the spread? I will admit that on solo trips I may go a day or two without a proper washing of my pot. Maybe just boiled water once and a wipedown. What should I do differently (or rather, exactly) to help prevent catching and/or spreading this?

Thank you for any replies!I don't know what kind of statistics you need?!? The last several years saw numerous hikers get very sick for several days. Lots of throwing up and lots of diarrhea. If one hiker gets sick at a shelter, the virus can spread very quickly to other hikers. If you accidentally step in someone's 'business', later in the day you'll remove your shoes, then prepare dinner, maybe share something with another hiker, touching this and touching that . . . Wash you hands and wash them often.

Often I've seen hikers sharing trail mix. Everyone dips their hands into the same bag . . . . disgusting . . . . I would suggest to pour into everyone's hand including your own.

Unsanitary practices when you are by yourself is probably just gross to some. If you get yourself sick, then it is just your own fault. Unsanitary practices on a long distance hike, when numerous hikers are within close proximity, can lead to others getting sick. Personally, I don't like cleaning my pot either, so I do freezer bag cooking and never dirty it. All I do is boil water in my pot.

Something else to consider, is to do 'fist bumps' instead of shaking hands when you meet someone new.

Just a few thoughts. The biggest preventer is probably to just keep your hands clean.

See you on the trail,
mt squid

(http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?100363-2014-Norovirus-Awareness)some observations (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?14493-observations-from-fs42-(advice-for-first-week-on-trail)&highlight=)

The Kisco Kid
03-03-2015, 17:30
Reposting the link above from the Centers for Disease Control, and am quoting it here. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. But, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water. See “Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives. (http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/)”

Lone Wolf
03-03-2015, 17:34
stay out of privys, shelters and hostels

Frye
03-03-2015, 17:51
stay out of privys, shelters and hostels

I can't stay out of hostels. After everyone else is finished taking showers I like to take a lukecool tub bath for about an hour.

horsefarm
03-03-2015, 20:42
Personally, I don't like cleaning my pot either, so I do freezer bag cooking and never dirty it. All I do is boil water in my pot.

Unrelated to the thread, but could you share some items that can be purchased along the trail that work well for freezer bag cooking? I get a lot of the instant rice and noodle type entrees that usually want you to simmer the food in a pot. Do you find that these reconstitute well in a freezer bag/cozy? Just add less water than the directions call for? I would love to find a method of cooking where I never have to actually clean my pot, or rarely at least.

Thank you!

Lauriep
03-03-2015, 23:04
Thanks to Mountain Squid for alerting me to layout issues with the PDF.

Here is a link to the revised poster Prevent Norovirus on the A.T. 2015 (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/prevent-norovirus-on-the-a-t-20158817d76668ce6efcb07bff000057c13a.pdf?sfvrsn=0) .

ATC's Health and Safety page (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/healthandsafety) has this overview for Norovirus:


This highly contagious virus causes your stomach and/or intestines to become inflamed, which leads to stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Norovirus is transmitted by contact with an infected person, contaminated food or water, or contaminated surfaces. The virus has a 12-48 hour incubation period and lasts 24-60 hours. Infected hikers may be contagious for 3 days to 2 weeks after recovery. Outbreaks occur more often where people share facilities for sleeping, dining, showering, and toileting; the virus can spread rapidly in crowded shelters and hostels; sanitation is key for avoiding and spreading norovirus. Take the following steps to prevent contracting and spreading the illness:


Do not eat out of the same food bag, share utensils, or drink from other hikersí water bottles
Wash your hands with biodegradable soap (200' from water sources) before eating or preparing food and after toileting.
Be aware that alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be ineffective against norovirus.
Treat all water. To learn how best to treat your water, click here (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html) for information from the CDC.
Follow Leave No Trace guidelines for disposing of human waste. For best practices, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/lnt.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/norovirus.
For the latest A.T.-specific information and a downloadable poster, click Prevent Norovirus on the A.T. 2015 (http://http://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/prevent-norovirus-on-the-a-t-20158817d76668ce6efcb07bff000057c13a.pdf?sfvrsn=0) .
Please report date and location of any cases or outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea on the A.T. or at places used by A.T. hikers (e.g. hostels) to the local health department and ATC at stomachbug@appalachiantrail.org.



Note at the CDC link above (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html), there is a link to a poster evaluating water treatment methods that states that the most effective means for reducing pathogens (other than boiling water) is a combination of filtration and disinfection, e.g. filter + chlorine dioxide (Aquamira).

Laurie P.

July
03-03-2015, 23:45
Wash your hands before eating. Keep dirty hands away from eyes, ears, nose, mouth...etc. Any dog offering gummie bears is probably OK..

horsefarm
03-03-2015, 23:50
Am I too freaked out about this or was I just much less aware of how big a problem it could be? I mean, I already planned to avoid shelters and hostels as much as possible for other reasons, but this stuff makes me afraid to even go near a crowded AT shelter at all.

Just Bill
03-04-2015, 07:29
Heet or moonshine might have a high enough percentage of alcohol.
But seems easier to me to just use some Dr. Bronner's and not defecate in your trail mix.

If only Bronner made moonshine...

horsefarm
03-04-2015, 09:53
I will do my best not to crap in my bag of trail mix, but I will not make any promises.

hailstreak
03-04-2015, 17:54
Rigorous hand washing is obviously the most effective way to remove the virus from your hands. However, some alcohol sanitizers work better than others against norovirus. I'll be carrying some Germstar Noro sanitizer: http://www.germstar.com/us/germstar-products/hand-sanitzers/germstar-noro/ . It's a liquid sanitizer, not a gel, which apparently works better against norovirus than gel solutions. In my experience, it also keeps my hands moist. There are some other sanitizers that work well against norovirus too: http://www.stopthestomachflu.com/Home/which-hand-sanitizers-kill-stomach-flu-viruses . Unfortunately, most of these need to be ordered online and are not available in stores. As a germaphobe, I will take any extra level of protection I can get. I will also avoid shelters when possible, especially if I hear word of norovirus spreading around.

timbercreek
03-04-2015, 20:04
Wash your hands and wash your hands again......

mountain squid
03-16-2015, 16:13
Just wanted to make sure everyone is still thinking about keeping their hands clean!

If you do notice anyone getting sick, don't forget to send an email to stomachbug@appalachiantrail.org.

Stay Well out there!

See you on the trail,
mt squid

(http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?100363-2014-Norovirus-Awareness)maintenance videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/mountainsquid04/videos)
how to hike (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?73587-how-to-hike)

squeezebox
03-16-2015, 16:52
Carrying a few pairs a medical gloves would not hurt.

JohnHuth
03-21-2015, 14:54
I caught up with my son and hiked from NOC into the Smokies, but am now back in Boston. While on the trail, rumors of outbreaks of norovirus to the south made it up to us. Fortunately one of the folks at the shelter was a physician and advised on the use of soap and water, as opposed to hand-sanitizer. Hopefully this information will propagate.

I'll also note that we'd heard that there were 70+ hikers at the Gooch Shelter the other night. This makes for crazy conditions

Bronk
03-22-2015, 08:51
People need to stop pooping in the springs and smearing it on the walls in the shelters.

bayview
03-22-2015, 16:42
I was doing trail magic last week at wayah gap giving RCs and Moon Pie when only two hikers gave me fist bumps. The rest shook hands. Seems there needs to be more education on the trail directly. Maybe the trail runner and workers could spread the word as they pass through. Of course some hikers can not be told anything as they know it all.

Canada Goose
03-22-2015, 17:24
I caught up with my son and hiked from NOC into the Smokies, but am now back in Boston. While on the trail, rumors of outbreaks of norovirus to the south made it up to us. Fortunately one of the folks at the shelter was a physician and advised on the use of soap and water, as opposed to hand-sanitizer. Hopefully this information will propagate.

I'll also note that we'd heard that there were 70+ hikers at the Gooch Shelter the other night. This makes for crazy conditions

Another rumour was reported on a hiker's blog yesterday:

http://wanderingjourneys.net/at2015/2015/03/21/day-9-hogpen-gap-to-mile-49-7-tentsite/

Studlintsean
03-25-2015, 10:27
It has made it's appearance in the Smokies. Keep those hands clean and carry some anti bacterial soap.

Boo8meR
03-27-2015, 14:41
There were a ton at the Blue Mountain shelter last week on a rainy day. We went on through and when one of the guys who stayed the night caught up to us the next day, he was vomiting everywhere and claimed to have very loose stool. He was asking about how to get off the trail and go home. I think some trail Angels helped him out at Dick's Creek Gap. I saw him two days later and he said it was gone in a day or two. I don't know for sure if it was norovirus, or not, but it sounds similar.

I also have a buddy I'm hiking with who is super ill right now. I'm from NC and came off the trail for 2 days for a scheduled double zero; but, I understand he's in a bad way in Franklin right now. Soap and water folks, soap and water. Plus, the trail is much better away from shelters!

Praha4
03-27-2015, 15:05
imagine the nastiest cruise ship on earth .... where a couple thousand people on this filthy boat are touching every solid surface with dirty hands, the kitchen is serving food on dirty dishes, the latrines are filthy, people urinate in the pools, people are coughing, spitting, sneezing bodily fluids all over the boat. Germs, viruses, bacteria, every microbe imagineable is out there ready to inhabit you!

now.... take that image to the AT. That's the typical shelter, hostel or privy during NoBo thru hiker season. None of these "facilities" have housekeeping crews or decon crews. Noravirus is about the worst G.I. illness one can get. Dehydration, hours hanging your head over the commode, (or in the woods), weakness, nausea, vomitting (projectile vomitting too)... it's the worst kind of bein' sick you can imagine.

So the advice given to avoid these filthy places is good advice.