I love the Oregon CDC. As an alternative doctor, loving any part of the CDC may seem a stretch, but the Oregon CDC sends out a wonderfully readable newsletter. They even send it to me in Central Maine after I started getting it when I was in Oregon.
So it according to the CDC that we are getting a new branch of Norovirus. Norovirus causes twenty-one million illnesses a year, so it isn’t confined to cruise ships. It also can lead to death in the elderly and in very young children, about eight hundred a year. So it’s more than just a nuisance.
If you’ve followed the cruise ship difficulty with Norovirus, you know that they just can’t seem to get rid of it. Even though they sterilize the ship, they can’t sterilize the passengers, and the virus re-occurs with disturbing regularity.
Now we have a new strain of Norovirus, called the Sydney Strain, and coming west from Oregon to Main. None of us are immune to the new strain, and it takes as few as eighteen particles to infect us (an infected person gives off billions of particles). So whip out those hand sanitizers and slap a blob of perfumed alcohol onto your hands every time you touch anything.
But wait. As part of its report, the Oregon CDC mentions that “alcohol based sanitizers are unlikely to inactivate the non-enveloped calicovirus.” Say what? Well, we haven’t been able to grow norovirus in labs very well, so they use a substitute virus, the calicovirus (which is probably not as cute as it sounds). So based on the best model we have, using alcohol based sanitizers before you eat is not going to give you the protection you need.
What might help is nipping the trots in the bud using a probiotic to compete with “gut floor space”. I use SBC from Douglas Labs, and keep some on hand for use either one daily or with every meal as soon as you experience an unpleasant need to rush to the bathroom.