Food poisoning appears to have caused more than 50 tourists, mostly teenagers, to be hospitalized on Sunday night after arriving in Washington D.C from New York.
Possibly Infected By Norovirus
Firefighters were called to Hotel Harrington following a report of multiple people showing signs of food poisoning.
District of Columbia Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Maggiolo said that several members of the tour group from London started to feel sick in New York but decided to proceed to the nation's capital. They sought medical attention after checking in to their hotel.
"A school group arrived from New York tonight and at least 13 people were transported to the hospital with food poisoning. They arrived in Washington from New York sick and we are wishing them all a speedy recovery," Hotel Harrington said in a statement.
The first responders initially transported only 13 patients but all members of the group were eventually taken to local hospitals. Some members of the group did not show symptoms but they were still taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
Traffic was temporarily blocked due to a large number of medics and police officers who responded. The patients had to be taken to the hospital using ambulance buses capable of treating a large number of patients at once.
It isn't yet clear what made the student group sick but some of the members were already sick before they arrived in D.C. The patients are now recovering and doctors are trying to determine if they were sickened by norovirus.
Norovirus can infect anyone. The virus can be transmitted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, and contaminated surfaces.
The infection causes inflammation of the stomach or intestines, which can lead to nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. The symptoms can be particularly serious for older adults and young children.
The infection cannot be treated using antibiotics since it is not a bacterial infection. No specific medicine is used to treat patients with norovirus illness but patients are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to replace the fluid they lost from throwing up and diarrhea.
"Noroviruses can be found in your vomit or stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better," the CDC said.