Here’s your gross news of the day. Remember the mysterious case of the sick cheerleaders? A puddle of vomit is now being blamed for spreading what Washington state health officials have confirmed to be a 200-person outbreak of the norovirus. Ewwwwww.
Initially believed to either be food poisoning or the result of tainted water, the rapid-spreading disease caused some 200 attendees of a large statewide cheerleading competition to become sick with flu-like symptoms, as well as vomiting and diarrhea. Multiple high schools’ squads were struck, as girls across the state came down with the mysterious illness. Over the weekend, state health officials confirmed the root of the cause: the norovirus, which is spread by touching contaminated surfaces. Like, you know, gym floors that have recently been covered in vomit.
According to reports of attendees, at least one cheerleader showed up to the competitive already carrying the virus–which caused her to vomit both in the gymnasium area, as well as several places outside. The barf, it seems, was never properly cleaned, which left the virus still alive and viable on the flood and probably about a billion other surfaces, including mats, equipment, drinking fountains, door handles, and just about every other gross surface that might lead you to re-consider hand-sanitizer.
The norovirus is often confused with food poisoning (and can, sometimes, be the cause if food is contaminated), but is more well known as, simply, the stomach flu. Aside from being miserable, it’s also highly contagious–which means that, at future competitions, it’s likely coaches and officials will be strict about barring any cheerleaders who may be sick on the morning of.
I can’t decide which is worse: being the cheerleader who was vomiting all day on the day of the competition, or being the cheerleader who spent the next week vomiting because she’d touched someone else’s vomit germs.