Gastro Impacting Hundreds of People at Winter Olympics

Fears are being raised for the health of olympic athletes as a major outbreak of Norovirus sweeps through multiple venues at the Winter Olympic Games in Korea.


February 14, 2018 By Danielle Cullen

The Winter Olympics in Korea are now well underway, but some unlucky athletes may be forced to withdraw from competition following a Norovirus outbreak that's already impacted close to 200 people.

The virus broke out ahead of the opening ceremony leading to 1200 security staff being placed in quarantine with some 900 South Korean military personnel being drafted in to replace them.

Signs have been placed around all olympic venues reminding competitors to wash their hands and use hand sanitiser but despite these efforts, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly, with a 30% increase reported within the last week. Luckily, there have been no reports of athletes contracting the virus as yet.

The water at the olympic venues has already tested negative for the virus. Food venues are currently undergoing testing to try and pinpoint the source of the outbreak.

What is Norovirus?

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can be spread through contact with infected faeces or vomit, person-to-person contact, through contaminated food or water or through touching a contaminated surface.

It's sometimes known as 'cruise ship gastro' as the virus causes multiple outbreaks on cruise ships every year.

Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Whilst most people recover quickly and don't need medical intervention, it's unlikely that a winter olympian would be able to attempt a double backflip whilst in the grips of the virus.

Athletes are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and to avoid contact with anyone who may have come into contact with the virus.