Gastrointestinal Outbreak Spreads Among Californian GOP Staffers At RNC

Norovirus thrives in enclosed spaces.

A gastrointestinal outbreak that could be norovirus has spread to almost a dozen GOP staffers from California at the Republican National Convention.

So far, no delegates have fallen ill, and the sickened staffers have been taken to a resort approximately 65 miles from the convention, Reuters reports. Because staffers reported feeling “queasy” shortly after arriving in Ohio last week, it’s likely that they brought the virus with them from California, rather than contracting it in Cleveland.

Samples have been sent to a Columbus lab to confirm whether or not the “noro-like” illness is indeed norovirus, according to USA Today.

Norovirus’ symptoms typically include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain. In some cases, symptoms can extend to include fever headaches and body aches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus is highly contagious and passed easily from person to person through close contact and contaminated food, water or surfaces, especially in enclosed spaces, such as nursing homes, daycares and cruise ships.

Norovirus is also incredibly widespread and is considered to be the most common cause of illness from contaminated food in the United States, causing as many as 21 million illness, 71,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths every year. It is estimated the every person will contract the disease about five times in his or her lifetime, the CDC reports.

In an effort to stop the outbreak from spreading, the RNC set up hand sanitizer stations and advised California delegates not to shake hands or share food during the convention.

“We’ve got about 11 who have been sick over the last few days, and we’ve been out there every day and working with them to eliminate the spread [between] the resort and the delegation from California,” Peter Schade, the Erie County health commissioner, told STAT.

An estimated 2,470 delegates are expected to attend the RNC this week, with about 50,000 people visiting Cleveland during event.