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Thu March 10, 2011
Norovirus outbreak at the Seattle Yacht Club
A virus outbreak has closed the Seattle Yacht Club's mainstation clubhouse on Portage Bay. Dozens of people who attended the JO Ball and a private party at the end of February became ill with gastrointestinal symptoms. Yacht Club General Manager Steve Hall says the club contacted the King County Health Department, sanitized the kitchen area, and closed the facility until March 12.
According to The Seattle Times, the Health Department says the illnesses were due to an outbreak of Norovirus, not food poisoning. The virus is highly contagious, and spreads easily in close quarters.
The virus is infamous for outbreaks aboard cruise ships. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the reason cruise ships are associated with the disease is because they have strict health reporting requirements. Shipboard outbreaks are found and reported more quickly than they are on land.
Norovirus is a very common illness, and is popularly (yet incorrectly) known as "stomach flu".