To prevent the spread of norovirus at the Olympics, athletes told to fist-bump, not shake hands: 4 things to know

Norovirus is going around the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, and officials are warning athletes to fist-bump each other instead of shaking hands in order to prevent further spread, according to Yahoo Sports.

Here are four things to know:

1. Not all athletes are abandoning the handshake. The U.S. women’s hockey team, which defeated Finland Monday, Feb. 19, shook hands with their opponents.

2. Typical norovirus symptoms include fever, muscle pain and aches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. According to Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, the virus is highly contagious and usually spread through food or water that is contaminated during preparation or contaminated surfaces. Individuals can also be infected by close contact with an infected person.

3. A 2014 study in The American Journal of Infection Control found a handshake transmitted nearly 10 times as many bacteria as a fist bump. The study also suggests high-fiving as a hand hygiene practice superior to shaking hands. Although norovirus is not a bacterium, this may have implications for curbing the virus' spread.

4. In 2012, British athletes were told to avoid shaking hands at the Olympics. The British Olympic Association's chief medical officer claimed minimizing the risk of illness was all about hand hygiene.

More articles on quality and infection control:

Starting the data revolution — How the AAAASF, Nebula Data Intel partnership can transform your ASC

In Maine, hospital using outpatient surgery beds to handle influx of flu patients

Common deficiencies cited by AAAASF and how to fix them — emergency preparedness

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Patient Safety Tools & Resources Database

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months