Origin of Norovirus Outbreak Still Unknown - 8 News NOW

LuAnne Sorrell, Reporter

Origin of Norovirus Outbreak Still Unknown

Posted: Updated:

(Mar. 16) -- The number of people claiming they came down with the norovirus after visiting Las Vegas has more than quadrupled. This week the Clark County Health District is reporting 1,174 total cases.

All of the people who've come down with the virus have either visited the California Hotel, or traveled on Omni Air International. The California Hotel says a few people have cancelled their reservations. But those Eyewitness News spoke with say they are not letting a little virus spoil their fun.

Wallace Akemine, Hawaiian tourist, said, "It's not life threatening. It's not going to kill us." Akeamine thinks his son contracted the norovirus in December when they stayed at the California. But he says that wasn't going to stop him from visiting the mainland. "We're celebrating my father's 90th birthday. So, we're not going to let a little virus stop us from coming out here."

Brad Imano also flew in from Hawaii to stay at the California. "90% percent of the people don't get sick, so I believe I'm going to be part of the 90%, you know."

Although the total number of people reporting they came down with the virus is up, the number of new cases is down. Still in the health district says 74 new cases were reported last week, that's down from 153 the previous week.

Rob Stillwell with Boyd Gaming said, "Our numbers show far less than the health district is reporting. Boyd Gaming owns the California. Stillwell says only a handful of California guests have come down with the norovirus since intense cleaning began at the hotel several weeks ago.

Omni Air International also scrubbed down their planes from top to bottom last week. The airline told Eyewitness News they have now put one person on every flight that is disinfecting the restrooms every hour. They are also only using pillows once and washing blankets after every flight.

Imano says he's confident that everything possible is being done to keep him and other tourists healthy. "You can't live being afraid of the virus," he said.

Although the drop in the number of new norovirus cases is promising, the health district says it's not uncommon to see a resurgence of the virus after a brief decline.

The health district is still not sure where the norovirus outbreak originated. A representative from the Centers for Disease Control will be coming to Las Vegas to assist the health district later this week.

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