Norovirus sickens about 100 at Waikiki hotel

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HONOLULU (AP) - State health officials have been supervising disinfection measures at a major Waikiki hotel after about 100 guests and workers became sick from norovirus.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel apologizes for the illnesses, said spokeswoman Stephanie Dowling. Those affected received medical attention, she said. One guest required hospitalization, but it’s not clear if this was because of the virus, she said.

Health officials confirmed people fell ill due to norovirus, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://ow.ly/xj9k2) reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control, norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach, intestines, or both, leading to stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The kitchen has been closed as a precautionary measure to halt any potential spread, the state epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park, said. It will remain closed until Wednesday.

Park said the illness lasts from 48 to 72 hours, and the closure of the kitchen allows for enough time for food service staff to recuperate if they’re ill. She said those involved in food service should stay home if they feel ill.

She said the norovirus, which may be transmitted by an infected person, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces, is “very hardy” in the environment and doesn’t take a lot to spread.

The CDC said the norovirus causes 19 million to 21 million illnesses annually and contributes to 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations.

Park said the illness probably started the week before last and that Royal Hawaiian managers called early on the weekend of May 16 to report the outbreak,

“They have been very helpful and appropriately concerned,” Park said. “The managers have been very helpful and want to do the right thing.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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