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December 06, 2002

You'll Never Norwalk Alone Virus

You'll Never Norwalk Alone

Virus Rattles Cruise Industry and Health Officials

The viruses are spread by what scientists call the fecal-oral route. As the unpleasant term suggests, transmission occurs when virus particles from an infected person's stool or vomit find their way into another person's mouth.
It takes only a small dose of the virus, 100 particles or even fewer, to make a person sick, according to studies of people who volunteered to become infected by drinking a stool filtrate.

"What did you do today, honey?"
"Well, work was kinda slow, but this fellow came buy looking for volunteers to drink a stool filtrate, and that sounded interesting, so I did that!"
"That's nice. Hey, where's my kiss?"

I don't know how one goes about making a stool filtrate, but I imagine at some point it involves the equivalent of dunking a turd in somebody's drinking water. I am easily in the top half of one percent of humanity when it comes to doing disgusting things, but I believe I'll draw the line when it comes to drinking the brown Kool-Aid. (Now with extra corn chunks!)

This actually didn't start out as the disgusting post of the week, but I gotta follow the tangents. I gotta be me.

What I started out to say was this.

I don't know how many cruises you might have been on. I've been on one, it was enough. If I want to see that many drunk rednecks gambling in one place again, I'll go to Biloxi. The cruise was chock full of people whom I would not have chosen to associate with on the mainland, ever. We all have a snob line, and Carnival Cruises did me the favor of letting me know exactly where mine was.

What struck me about the cruise, other than the vast herd of yammering polloi was the international flavor of the staff. Frankly, I preferred the staff, but that's not really the point. Every crew member was from a different nation, it seemed, and their country of origin was featured on the ever present name tag. The Gopher equivalent was from Great Britain, Doc was from the Netherlands, Julie was from Bolivia and Isaac was from.....Pakistan.

The theme that keeps getting repeated over and over again is how odd it is that the virus is not only so widespread, but keeps re-appearing on ships after they've been disinfected. What if it's not the ship's surfaces or passengers that are the source of the virus? What if it's someone in the ships crew, doing it on purpose? You've all heard of the guy who blew his nose in the cop's hamburger, right? This is just the jihad equivalent.

Suppose you were a low level Muslim crew member. You don't have to be Al-qaeda, you just have to be pissed off. You don't even have to be in food preparation. Suppose you spend your day with a spray bottle and a rag, wiping down surfaces after the the Imperialist Yankee Pigs have eaten their disgusting pork sandwiches there. No one actually checks to make sure you've got bleach in your spray bottle, so every now and then you just fill it with water and some of your personal diarrhea. Your entire biological attack consists of;

1.) Spray
2.) Wipe
3.) Wait for the next couple to eat off that table.

That works pretty well, so you tell some co-religionists about your little joke who work on the other cruise lines. A few weeks later, you've got yourself a nice little epidemic.

I'm not saying I think this is what's happening, but it certainly fits the facts of the story so far. Ships have had Norwalk infections before, but were fine after a thorough disinfection was carried out. Not only do we have the infection re-appearing on cleaned ships, it's spreading to other ships and other cruise lines. Unless we have a rather determined Norwalk version of Typhoid Mary or a fairly mind-boggling set of coincidences, what other explanations are there?

Posted by Bigwig at December 6, 2002 12:20 AM | TrackBack
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