Now Appearing at the Republican National Convention: Actual Barf

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Photo: Visuals Unlimited In./Science

It seems there is a small outbreak of norovirus — that extremely contagious bug you probably associate with cruise ships — among some GOP staffers attending the Republican National Convention this week. So far, there are conflicting reports about just how many people are sick, but according to the Los Angeles Times, around a dozen staff members from the California delegation have been quarantined to their hotel rooms after showing symptoms that look an awful lot like norovirus. (None of the delegates have been reported sick as of yet.)

Symptoms of norovirus are, in a word, gross: The viruses are associated with “explosive bouts of vomiting and diarrhea,” as STAT reporters Helen Branswell and Sheila Kaplan phrase it. Usually, people recover within one to three days, though the very old and the very young are most at risk for more serious complications.

The convention attendees who have shown signs of the virus are staying in their rooms at a hotel in Sandusky, Ohio — about 60 miles away from Cleveland — until they’ve been symptom-free for at least 24 hours, an important precaution because, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises, norovirus is “highly contagious.” Typically, it spreads through contaminated food or drink; people can also catch it from touching a contaminated surface and then putting their unwashed hands in their mouths. (Reminder: Wash your hands!) It tends to move quickly through crowded, enclosed places like day-care centers, schools, nursing homes, or cruise ships. Or, you know, Quicken Loans Arena, potentially. “We’re basically in a cruise ship,” one unnamed state party official told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday morning. Make the RNC norovirus-free again.