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CBS News has a fascinating story about a 2010 norovirus outbreak, and how researchers have traced it specifically to a reusable grocery bag.

CBS says that the study "shows that seven out of the 17 girls who were at the out-of state tournament were able to contract the virus without even being in direct contact with the first person to be infected. In total, nine people out of the 21 person group came down with the disease ... in the case of the 2010 outbreak, the disease spread without direct contact.

"According to the researchers, the culprit turned out to be a reusable grocery bag and some tainted cookies. The bag, which contained the cookies and other snacks, was placed on the hotel bathroom floor when the index case started vomiting. Though she never touched the bag, viral particles floated from the toilet to the bag then to the cookies that the team ate. Even though she went home soon after and did not see the other people, the damage had been done."

The story goes on to say that "according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S., infecting 21 million people and requiring 70,000 hospitalizations a year. About 800 people die from the disease annually.

"What makes the norovirus so dangerous (and common in close quarters like cruise ships) is that it is easily passed along from infected people, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include diarrhea, throwing up, nausea and stomach cramping and may include a low fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a sense of fatigue
KC's View:

First lesson - don't leave your grocery bag, no matter what it is made of, on the bathroom floor.