Thursday, May 10, 2012

QUICK HIT: Dirty Reusable Grocery Bag Causes Soccer Team to Get Sick

How often do you clean your reusable grocery bags? Never? Once a month? Once a year?
Maybe you should do it more often.
In a nice piece of detective work, the Journal of Infectious Disease found that a girls' soccer team was made ill when one member of the team transmitted the Norwalk Virus by contaminating food being kept in a reusable grocery bag (in the bathroom). I'll spare you the gory details, but you can hit the link above if you want to see.

Essentially, though, the index case was vomiting and having diarrhea in the bathroom where the eventual culprit snacks were being kept in a reusable cloth grocery bag (? Food being kept in the bathroom?).  Consumption of snacks (including pre-packaged cookies, chips and grapes) from the bag, was strongly linked to getting ill with the same strain of Norwalk as the initial case.

NORWALK VIRUS is often referred to as "cruise-ship diarrhea", as there have been several outbreaks on cruise ships recently. It is hightly infectious, and once aerosolized (in this case, through throwing up) is very readily spread through touching contaminated surfaces. The more confined the space, the more easily spread.
Symptoms onset rapidly with vomiting and diarrhea lasting 24-48 hours.


  • When travelling as a team, family, or other group, if one person is suspected of having Norwalk, best to isolate them. 
  • Be diligent about keeping counter-tops, etc extra clean. 
  • Keep your hands clean!
  • WASH YOUR RE-USABLE Grocery Bags.
  • It seems redundant to say, but Keep Your Food OUT OF THE BATHROOM!!
Let me know what you think of this!

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