Stomach virus outbreak

There’s some kind of stomach virus floating around Silicon Valley. About a dozen or so people in my department at work have come down with stomach-flu-like symptoms, some lasting about 24 hours, others lasting three or four days. One guy had to go to the emergency room at 4 am after he collapsed and slammed his head onto his sink.

I was originally I was concerned that this was a company-specific issue, since it started with four people in my group, all of whom had eaten the same foods. I even called our Environmental Safety group to see if was something in our cafeteria. When I was investigating, the numbers expanded and it was clear it wasn’t food related.

More likely, it was someone who had the virus and passed it along; over the last two weeks, my department been hosting a programming summit, with 20-30 developers from around the world, all crammed into a pair of relatively small rooms, sharing the air and the keyboards (which are among the dirtiest surfaces we touch every day). Lots of people talking to each other, shaking hands, in close proximity? A virus’s best friend.

I’ve tried to stay out of the summit rooms for most of the last two weeks, although I had reasons to appear on occasion, including today, when I met with a couple of developers to see their applications. And, perhaps coincidentally, I find myself with (minor) stomach issues as I write this entry.

The last thing I wish to experience is another stomach virus. My experience with one last year was enough. So keep yourself safe: wash your hands regularly (one third of people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom), clean your keyboards and other surfaces, and consider carrying and using some type of liquid sanitizer or hand wipes.