Over 100 people have been affected by an apparent outbreak of a virus that causes what is commonly known as the “stomach flu” at two Vancouver airport–area hotels in Richmond.
CBC News reported that staff members and guests were affected by a norovirus outbreak that occurred this past weekend as a conference with 500 attendees being held at the Sheraton Hotel began on May 10.
The Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel on Westminster Highway in Richmond has been closed down, in addition to a Starbucks and Harold’s Bistro inside it.
Cavu Kitchen Bar at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel on Minoru Boulevard in Richmond has also been closed, according to reports.
All rooms, public areas, and food and beverage facilities are required to be sanitized before reopening.
Vancouver Coastal Health public affairs leader Carrie Stefanson told the Georgia Straight that although they can't confirm the exact numbers of those affected by the illness, the hotels are reporting over 100 people are reporting illnesses consistent with the norovirus.
Norovirus infects the digestive tract and causes acute gastroenteritis, which is also known as the stomach flu.
The virus can survive on surfaces that haven’t been cleaned, such as countertops or sink taps, and can be spread by anyone in contact with these surfaces prior to touching their mouth.
It can also be spread by direct contact with someone who is infected (such as sharing utensils or food with an infected person), by air through particles (such as when someone is vomiting), or by eating contaminated food or liquids.
The illness lasts around 12 to 60 hours and symptoms, which manifest one to two days after infection, can include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, non-bloody diarrhea, chills, headaches, muscle aches, or fatigue.
More information about norovirus is available at the Vancouver Coastal Health website.