To reduce the incidence of Norovirus on river trips, implement the following:
- Norovirus is found in the feces and vomit of infected individuals. Thus, proper hand hygiene is of the utmost importance to prevent its spread. In addition to hand washing, alcohol hand sanitizers may provide an additional level of effectiveness, but should not be used in lieu of hand washing;
- Wash fruits and vegetables using potable water;
- Wash and disinfect contaminated surfaces using chlorine (e.g. bleach) at proper concentrations from 50ppm to 100ppm available chlorine. To determine concentration of a bleach solution use chlorine test strips.
- Hand wash stations should be established for food handlers separate from toilet hand washing;
- Efforts should be taken to isolate infected individuals. They should be served their food and attempts should be made to keep them in the same location on the boat. Ill guides should be prevented from handling food and should be subject to the same requirements of ill passengers. Proper bleach cleanup should be used around all areas of vomit;
- Don’t allow people with gastroenteritis to board a trip (i.e. river trip, cruise ship, etc.);
- Isolation of ill crew members and, if possible, passengers for 72 hours after clinical recovery; and
- Make every effort to routinely disinfect other surfaces using a bleach mixture including water jugs and spigots, boat surfaces, outsides of food jars, toilet accessories like soap dispenser, toilet key, etc.
- Hand Washing System: If non-potable water is used, the hand wash bucket must contain at least 100 ppm of chlorine bleach. Use chlorine test strips to determine the chlorine residual in the hand wash water.
- Set up a separate toilet for those who are ill
Please remember that people can still be shedding the virus for days after they stop having symptoms.
Marlene Gaither, Coconino County Health Dept., Arizona