A New (Old) Kind of Virus Infection

Remember the good old days when a virus infection meant bedrest, a fever and feeling run down, not someone trying to steal your bank information from your computer? Well, thanks to JavaOne, they’re back. Imagine my reaction this morning on seeing this in my inbox:

“The JavaOne conference team has been notified by the San Francisco Department of
Public Health about an identified outbreak of a virus in the San Francisco area.
Testing is still underway to identify the specific virus in question, but they
believe it to be the Norovirus, a common cause of the “stomach flu”, which can
cause temporary flu-like symptoms for up to 48 hours. Part of the San Francisco
area impacted includes the Moscone Center, the site of the JavaOne conference
which is being held this week.”

The San Francisco Department of Public Health sent out the alert after “several” people became ill after
attending or working at conferences at the Moscone Convention
Center between April 30 and this Thursday, May 8.

The culprit specified in the alert was the Norovirus. Norovirus is rather common. It’s spread through failure to wash one’s hands and seems to have hit cruise ships especially hard. JavaOne is a great breeding ground for something like Noro, too. Sun puts out beanbags in the south hall around some XBox 360 consoles for people to play, there is a beanbag area where people can watch movies (during the conference they paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars to attend) and probably worst of all, they have a small collection of classic arcade. After four days, how many hands were on those consoles, or the XBox controllers?

The health department requested that people who believe they have a Norovirus-related illness — symptoms include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness — to keep away from the Moscone Center until they
have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

Oh shoot, now where will I hang out this weekend?

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