Bottled Water Strikes Thousands With Norovirus

By Sara Jerome

Thousands of people got ill from norovirus contaminated water bottles in Spain last month.
“On April 25, the health department in Catalonia said that more than 4,100 people in the region came down with vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms of the notorious ‘stomach bug’ called norovirus, between April 11 and April 18. The illnesses were linked to contaminated office water coolers that were distributed to hundreds of companies in the cities of Barcelona and Tarragona,” Live Science reported.
Benjamin Chapman, an associate professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, said norovirus may have contaminated the water at the location where it was bottled. The water was bottled in Andorra. Chapman is not a part of the investigation.
“Water is a really good source of pathogens,” Chapman said, per the report.
Norovirus is one of the top ten causes of outbreaks in public water systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Noroviruses may be found in water sources, such as private wells, that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans,” the CDC reported.
Disinfection is one way to treat norovirus contamination in water, according to the CDC. Norovirus is moderately tolerant to chlorination. Boiling water can be used to inactivate norovirus.
The virus is known for spreading rapidly through populations. Passengers on a cruise ship liner from England to Baltimore, MD, recently got hit with it. “Two days into the trip, the Centers for Disease Control says a highly contagious norovirus swept through the passengers and crew, sickening more than 150 people on board,” CBS Local reported.
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