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  1. #1
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    Default NORO virus how it is spread, some ideas

    My daughter thru hiked the AT last year. She hiked in a small bubble. About half her group got the NORO virus, she did not. The group talked about the virus and what to do to not get it, yet still half did. I asked what her thoughts were on who did and who did not. 1st she washed her hands and rinsed in pumped water. Same for cooking utensils. She got sick years ago from contaminated cookware so she learned this lesson. She did not share food. She did not share other things you put in your mouth that burn. Just before Erwin while camping at a stream one night people started puking. They first went to the stream to clean up. They skipped shelters and camped prior to or after a shelter at a stream as did many others. The group broke up as the sick stayed behind. Thinking back things she noticed. Those who treated water from streams did not let the Aqua react for 5 min, they waited at most 1 min and when it turned yellow they poured it into their bottle. The water is always cold, they started using it 15 min later not waiting a full 30 for cold water. Some said well I am also boiling it, but in fact it they merely brought it to a boil and used it. Seeing what her group did and how they used the streams, she thinks the streams are the source of contamination along with all the campsites and shelters. It is spread by contact. 50% of her group had become sources for spreading the virus. She thinks the simple act of washing your hands and utensils in purified water and not sharing items and food was why she did not contact the virus. Watch people, watch their habits, you will soon pick out the ones that will get sick and the ones who "may" not. The virus will be out there this year also. Pay attention to the directions on purifying water, pay attention to what you use untreated water for. Pay attention to where you camp, as the night before someone may have been sick in the very spot you are camped.

  2. #2

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    My first question is how do they know they had been infected with the norovirus? The symptoms displayed can be linked to hundreds of little thingys. That's the thing about self diagnosis, you really can't do it on your own; it takes technology to determine what infects you.

    Also, I'm skeptical about infection via water source on the trail. The thing about getting infected by little things is that it is so, so easy, but especially easy to get infected by the norovirus.

    I agree that the way her friends were treating water was bad, but then again I don't treat water, so who am I to say



    See here, an article that puts it in perspective, a little, of how easy it is to get infected. http://www.realclearscience.com/blog...norovirus.html

    Excerpt:

    "They are incredibly infectious. The average person needs to come into contact with just 18 of these little viruses to become sick. Compare that number to say, Salmonella, which may require about 100,000 bacterial cells to cause illness. That explains why hundreds of people on cruise ships get sick."






    Maybe they were infected by norovirus or maybe something else. I don't worry too much about these things; I see getting sick as getting healthy. Seems like we're too concerned with isolating ourselves from these little thingys too much. Just get infected and get it over with

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    As you hike along the trail you will come across places where there are common hand holds, places where nearly everyone will grab on to. A tree, a limb maybe a rock outcropping. I've always though these places could also be a source. Maybe not the main source.

    I think sharing food, drink and sleeping in shelters is the main cause.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  4. #4
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Water only has to be brought to a boil.
    Lonehiker

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    Registered User Kraken Skullz's Avatar
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    Noro is one of those things that is EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately when on the trail, folks don't have the amenities that they are used to and cleanliness takes a back seat to simplicity and weight. The instructions on the water purification systems are there for a reason and if hikers are in groups it only increases the risk that someone will be a carrier for noro or rhinovirus. One of the reasons I am leary of staying in shelters is the even more increased risk of someone passing through recently that was a carrier or still contagious with one of the above mentioned two viruses. My advice, Take Hand Sanitizer and use it anytime you "get the call from nature" and before handling food.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kraken Skullz View Post
    .. My advice, Take Hand Sanitizer and use it anytime you "get the call from nature" and before handling food.
    Just need to point out that alcohol based hand sanitizer does not kill Noro. Bleach or Hydrogen Peroxide does. You can get Hydrogen Peroxide wipes, but you need to keep them sealed and out of the sun for them to remain effective (same for bleach)

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    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    It's not the water or shelter unless there is fresh vomit or feces there. It starts via feces to mouth contact, such as not washing your hands after doing #2. Not many places to wash up after you go. Use TP and wash as soon as possible and do not wash in the water supply source at a shelter....

  8. #8
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    My first question is how do they know they had been infected with the noro virus? Well lots of folks said "I am skipping the shelters" they did but they all camped in the same spots. The noro was confirmed as being on the trail again. Several people started puking all night long on the same night, thus they must have picked up the virus from same place. They puked in the stream they wiped off the puke in the stream, they stayed there for days puking. I can only guess that the stream is contaminated. Noro is not everywhere it gets spread where people are in large numbers like daycare, schools, ships, and hostels. The noro is not just another simple virus you have a day or 2 and you are back to normal. It has gotten stronger putting some people in the hospital or being laid out for up to 2 weeks or more. I am glad someone said alcohol was useless, because relying on hand sanitizer that is alcohol based will not keep you safe as it does kill noro virus. Soap and water does. Amazing. Back to basics. To kill germs water needs to boil for 10 min I could not find how long it took for boiling water to kill noro. If someone can answer this please do.

  9. #9
    Registered User Kraken Skullz's Avatar
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    Hand sanitizer DOES help prevent the spread of viruses of most kinds. Obviously if you have soap and water that is preferred but most people don't stop and find a clean water source and bust out the camp soap every time that they go hiking.

    See the link below for more info. Pretty sure the CDC knows more about this than we do.

    http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html
    "Truth is anything you can convince someone else to believe" - Me

  10. #10
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Quote: To kill germs water needs to boil for 10 min

    Once again, this is a false statement. Water only has to come to a boil.
    Lonehiker

  11. #11
    Registered User Kraken Skullz's Avatar
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    True. Also, by the time the water is at a rolling boil, it has already been at a temp where any bacteria, protozoa and viruses have been killed or sterilized. Either way, wash your hands when possible, when you can't take whatever precautions you can if you think you are in a high risk area.
    "Truth is anything you can convince someone else to believe" - Me

  12. #12

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    From my observations, many hikers don't actually bring their water to a boil. I know I rarely do. A few bubbles forming on the bottom of the pot is usually all that is necessary to rehydrate their food.

    When testing different alcohol stoves on my patio (which is the only time I have a thermometer), I've found that the water rarely gets over 180F for how I actually rehydrate food in the back country.

  13. #13
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    No need to boil. 180 F will outright kill pretty much all enteric pathogens. For comparison, milk is pasteurized at 160 for 15 seconds, which reduces pathogen populations to such small levels where they won't cause illness.

  14. #14

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    It's a good thing to have good hygiene practices, but when dealing with something as contagious as norovirus (or any number of other diseases) I wouldn't worry/overanalyze how to prevent it. Who knows maybe you'll be lucky enough to get sick with a strain that boosts your immune system


    http://io9.com/5730895/swine-flu-giv...al-flu-vaccine

  15. #15
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    I missed the 2013 noro epidemic on the AT (saw people sick from Hot Springs to Waynesboro VA). Don't know how. I almost always slept in the shelters. I did use alcohol gel like it was going out of style (even after I learned that it was often ineffective). I didn't share any food. Used alcohol gel after writing in shelter logs. Used Aquamira for water purification (followed the instructions).

    I spoke to a guy from the Health Department in Erwin (after he had interviewed someone w/ Noro). He told me that you don't gain an immunity from the disease after you catch it. He told me that you are still contagious for a few days after you no longer show symptoms.

    I've never had giardia before. I understand that malady also causes diarrhea as well. I don't know how you can tell the difference between the two viruses.

    Noro was a nasty virus on the trail. I hope it isn't as bad for the 2014 thru-hikers. Word for the wise, pack extra TP at all time. You never know if & when it will hit.

  16. #16
    Registered User ChuckT's Avatar
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    Bfayer - are you sure about hydrogen peroxide? I heard an ER doctor say that peroxide is nearly useless. His take was that it may be better than nothing but not much more than that.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N900A using Tapatalk
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    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Hand sanitizer marketed as anti-viral, typically containing benzethonium or benzalkonium chloride is considered effective. The plain old alcohol stuff isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckT View Post
    Bfayer - are you sure about hydrogen peroxide?
    Yes.

    http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/antimi..._norovirus.pdf

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlZ993 View Post
    I missed the 2013 noro epidemic on the AT (saw people sick from Hot Springs to Waynesboro VA). Don't know how. I almost always slept in the shelters. I did use alcohol gel like it was going out of style (even after I learned that it was often ineffective). I didn't share any food. Used alcohol gel after writing in shelter logs. Used Aquamira for water purification (followed the instructions).

    I spoke to a guy from the Health Department in Erwin (after he had interviewed someone w/ Noro). He told me that you don't gain an immunity from the disease after you catch it. He told me that you are still contagious for a few days after you no longer show symptoms.

    I've never had giardia before. I understand that malady also causes diarrhea as well. I don't know how you can tell the difference between the two viruses.

    Noro was a nasty virus on the trail. I hope it isn't as bad for the 2014 thru-hikers. Word for the wise, pack extra TP at all time. You never know if & when it will hit.

    Giardiasis isn't a virus it's a Protozoa, it's symptoms are much more prolonged than Norovirus.

  20. #20
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    Remember the primary way of spreading Norovirus is transmission of feces or vomit from an infected person. You're not likely to contract Norovirus in a stream or spring, but it's possible and anyway you should boil your cooking water (rolling boil, not "fish eyes") anyway for other nasty things that could be there like giardia. Just as importantly, since most of us eat out of the pan we boil our water in, this will help make it more sanitized. Dip your spork/utensils in the water briefly while it's boiling to help make sure they are clean also.

    During outbreaks, avoid shelters, shelter areas, and above all privies! Don't share your food or your cookware/utensils or accept any from anyone! Passing the virus from your hands to your mouth is by far the most likely way to get infected!

    Carry a disinfecting soap through the outbreak area and beyond for at least a couple of weeks and use it instead of or in addition to hand sanitizer. Good old alcohol sanitizer is still good for other general bacteria. Norovirus isn't the only thing that can get you out there!

    When in town, be extra cautious of surfaces which may come in contact with lot's of hikers (bars tops, tabletops) and avoid hiker hostels in the outbreak areas.

    Don't panic, but don't be stupid either. Know how the virus is spread, then apply some common sense to minimize your chances of infection.

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