In most of the U.S. corporate media little has been made of it. You'd think it didn't exist! We can, of course, understand how TV news time and column space would be consumed by the Newtown massacre, as well as the "fiscal cliff" (though the latter is more Neoliberal engineered bunkum right out of Naomi Klein's shock doctrine template) but one still wishes SOME attention was paid to it! What am I writing about?
It's the fact that in the last six months the worst ever explosion in norovirus (aka "vomiting bug") infections has seized the world. From Canada to the UK and Germany and from there to Australia and the U.S. millions are coming down with it and vomiting their guts out. Going to a Christmas party? That may well be the perfect trap by which to ensnare you with the bug (actually a virus as the name implies). Just grab some of those chips and submerge them into some of the ranch dip somone carrying a norovirus accidentally touched. Within 24 -48 hours you will be puking your guts out, plus going from the opposite end too. It will last three or so days and in the meantime, you will be dehydrated as nothing will stay down.
You will, in effect, catch what Hillary Clinton also came down with, and why she couldn't attend any of those Benghazi witch hunt meetings confected by the repukes. You will also understand once you get it why she couldn't attend, this apart from the concussion she got after passing out from dehydration!
It is estimated that in the UK alone, 900,000 have already been infected with the norovirus in one or more forms. In Wisconsin it's already running rampant, especially in nursing homes, and is waylaying people in Colorado who have been careless regarding their social interactions. (I learned about the Colorado outbreak in a small 5" column on page 15A of the Saturday Denver Post). Some estimates by the National Health Service in the UK estimate the outbreak is 83% worse than last year. Is it to do with global warming? It might be!
The sad thing about this virus is its stealth and the fact that those who have gotten sick can infect others up to a week after they themselves have recovered. In other words, they might feel quite fine enough to attend an office or other Christmas party without knowing that each time they accidentally touch that ranch dip or even reach into a bowl with chips or bakes they're potentially infecting dozens of others. Typhoid Marys, anyone? Be aware that even a simple handshake is enough to pass on the virus if the 'infector' hasn't washed his or her hands properly, say after using a rest room (that means at least one minute with soap, lots of soap!)
Even a few bacteria, say hanging around any surface, like the door knob or hand drier of a washroom, is enough to confer infection on the unwary victim. Best advice, thorough - thorough handwashing (until people take you for a germophobe or hypochondriac) after using the rest room for the No. 2, and also after handling any food and certainly before eating.
You also might want to avoid any displayed food that isn't pre-packaged at parties! Just a word of advice, don't want to make anyone paranoid here! But you don't want to waste that Xmas dinner, eh?
My wife and I each contracted a norovirus then making the rounds in Barbados in December, 1991, one month before we left for the States. It was god-awful. I got it first, and within hours was going both ends non-stop. My wife, bless her, tried to clean up after me but caught it after doing so (she needed to have used latex gloves then washed with germicidal soap after). Within a day both of us were so badly dehydrated we had to go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for intravenous fluids. Many elderly people die because their bodies can't handle the dehydration, they get kidney failure. The rumor at the time in Bim is that the virus got started from a cruise ship passenger or ship worker. Maybe he or she didn't wash carefully and went to a restaurant on the Bridgetown Careenage ....touching whatever....who knows? We do know norovirus infection is the bane of cruise ships.
If your clothing, bed linens do get messed up - and they WILL - you or someone will need to get them washed with bleach at 60 C, no less. You definitely can't let any contaminated linens, clothing lying around. If someone in the house does get infected they need to be isolated and all kitchen wares used by them prevented from circulating to anyone else. Thorough washing needs to be done by everyone, especially the person or persons attending to the sick. That means soiled clothing too! (Norovirus can incept projectile vomiting. It happened to me!)
I hope no one gets this bug during what ought to be a festive time of year, but being in the know will definitely help to limit the probabilities! Maybe avoiding all Xmas parties will also help! (The odds of norovirus infection are in direct proportion to the number of events you attend and the number of people attending).
It's an extreme step....but maybe will pay off! If you ever get it, you'll see what I mean!