Norovirus hits historic New York hotel

A historic New York hotel gets hit with an unsettling virus.

The historic Mohonk Mountain House hotel, located in New York’s Hudson Valley, shut its doors on Friday, February 7, due to a stomach virus outbreak that left hundreds of guests and employees ill.

The aggressive stomach virus responsible for causing the temporary shutdown of the New Paltz hotel was identified by the New York State Department of Health as norovirus.

An aggressive, gastrointestinal bug, norovirus can be transmitted by consuming food and water contaminated by fecal matter, exposure to contaminated surfaces, and through person-to-person contact. The symptoms of this virus commonly include cramping, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, while less-common symptoms can extend to muscle aches, fatigue and chills. Because norovirus spreads rapidly from person-to-person, outbreaks of the virus are commonly found in crowded, closed spaces, such as cruise ships and hotels.

“Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S., causing about 21 million infections each year and 800 deaths,” according to a report from NBC News.

The outbreak reportedly emerged on January 31. As an increasing number of guests and employees reported having symptoms of the aggressive virus, Mohonk Mountain House closed its doors. In an interview with the New York Times, Nina Smiley, marketing director for the hotel, said, “We chose to do that…we needed to take aggressive action.”

Upon the hotel’s closing this past friday, Texas-based BMS Cat, a commercial disaster, recovery and damage restoration company, was brought in to sanitize the premises. Since its shut down, a crew of more than 200 diligently been steam-cleaning upholstery, carpets and drapes, washing linens, and disinfecting all of the hotel’s hard surfaces, preparing Mohonk Mountain House in time for its Valentine’s Day reopen, set for this Friday, February 14.

However, the Mohonk Mountain House norovirus outbreak is not an isolated event. A similar norovirus outbreak occurred earlier this month on Jan. 29, when nearly 700 passengers and crew members came down with the virus during an excursion on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

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