I know this is a weird thing to have here, but ever since I read about this noro story, back in 2005 as a 25-year-old down-desk writer in a dark corner on the third floor of Times House, I have been totally fascinated by it.
It’s the first time I became aware that the norovirus even existed, having never caught it or known anyone who caught it (IS it just me, or is noro quite a new thing? Not around in the 80s?) and I was horrified and captivated by the tale, which goes like this:
After a Charlatans concert in Abderdeen’s Music Hall in 2004, 500 of the 1,500 concert-goers were struck down with severe vomiting and diarrhoea. No-one knew how or why or what had happened: was it food-poisoning? Some other airborne toxin?
It was so strange and so scary – possibly a genuine health crisis – that the local health authority, NHS Grampian, produced an entire scientific report into what happened, which you can read here.
It isn’t very long and I find it fascinating, but if you can’t be bothered to read it, the conclusion is that all of those people got noro from one single person vomiting on the steps outside the concert hall before the performance.
Everyone stepped in it as they walked into the venue and there you have it. You only need 100 virus particles to start an infection and a single vomit releases 30 million.
I don’t know why I think this is so interesting, possibly it’s just a demonstration of the awesome and unstoppable power of nature, which I find amusing to gawp at (I’m also to frightened to watch Planet Earth and so have to find amusement elsewhere).