The 2018 Winter Olympics are underway, and South Korea has welcomed athletes and fans from the world over.
Unfortunately, the games also have one very unwelcome guest: the stomach bug known as the norovirus.
This famously nasty virus hits hard and fast, often causing severe vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It’s also highly infectious and easily spread, making it especially problematic in environments with lots of people such as cruise ships, schools, nursing homes, workplaces – and, apparently, the Olympic Games.
As of Feb. 16, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had confirmed more than 260 cases of norovirus at this year’s Olympic Games. At one point approximately 1,200 workers were quarantined and, as the virus spread, Olympic officials were busy posting signs throughout venues reminding visitors to wash their hands to avoid picking up the bug.
Fortunately, at least for now, spread of the virus at the Olympics is on the decline and there have been no reports it has affected any athletes. Forty-four people, however, remained in quarantine.
The Korean CDC said the virus is believed to have been spread through contaminated water used for cooking at a youth training center where the outbreak began.