Researchers in Canada have concluded that norovirus can spread by air, according to a publication in the highly respected Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Eight doctors participated in a study of norovirus and determined that norovirus can be transmitted in an airborne form. They published an article titled "Detection and Quantification of Airborne Norovirus During Outbreaks in Healthcare Facilities."
Researchers collected air samples (about 3 feet away from the sick patients) and then tested areas further away, such as by the door of patient rooms and down at nursing stations.
"Airborne noroviruses were identified at six of the eight facilities included in the study. These germs were found in 54 percent of the sick patients’ rooms. They were also found in 38 percent of the hallways leading to these rooms and at 50 percent of the nursing stations."
A reporter for HealthDay News / U.S. News and World Report wrote an article titled ‘Cruise Ship’ Norovirus Bug Can Spread by Air, Study Finds, saying that "notorious bugs that have infected scores of people and ruined countless cruise ship vacations — can spread through the air and infect people several feet away, according to new research."
"The measures applied in hospital settings are only designed to limit direct contact with infected patients," the study’s leader, Caroline Duchaine, a professor at Universite Laval’s Faculty of Science and Engineering in Quebec, Canada, said in a university news release."
The medical experts concluded that rules need to be reviewed to take into account the possibility of airborne transmission of noroviruses. She suggested the use of "mobile air-filtration units" or the "wearing of respiratory protection around patients with gastroenteritis" should be considered.
The news article said that concentrations of norovirus "ranged from 13 to 2,350 particles per cubic meter of air." As few as 20 norovirus particles can infect someone.
The cruise industry’s lobbying team at the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) has been lecturing the public for decades that passengers not washing their hands is usually the cause of the virus’ spread. I have always thought that blaming the passengers was malarkey.
Now we have reliable information that norovirus can spread in the air. It can easily be blown throughout the ship by the cruise ship’s air-conditioning.
I wonder how CLIA will spin this new clinical study?