In between ski runs, snowboarding runs, and speed skating runs at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, athletes will be doing their best to avoid getting the runs. Norovirus began sweeping through Olympic athletes and staff, even before the opening ceremony on Friday. Officials have reacted quickly by distributing hand sanitizer, telling athletes and staff to wash their hands frequently, and asking everyone to practice proper coughing etiquette — into your arm, not into your hand. But it’s too early to tell the effect the illness will have on the games.

As of Thursday, there were 128 confirmed cases of norovirus, according to a report from The New York Times. This illness, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and fever, spreads very easily from person to person and can even be picked up by contacting surfaces with the virus on them.

With people gathering from all over the globe and packing together into their temporary housing accommodations, it’s not a huge surprise that a disease like norovirus — which is sometimes called the winter vomiting bug — would spread.

Olympics officials are spreading the word about how to slow the spread of norovirus.

“Dining halls are usually a disaster; everyone’s touching everything,” American speedskater Kimani Griffin told The Times. “We’ve definitely gone through every precaution we can take while traveling: wiping things down with Clorox wipes, hand sanitizing, face masks, gloves, whatever we can do prevent ourselves from coming into contact with it.”

And while the illness isn’t usually life-threatening, as long as a patient stays hydrated, it could potentially throw athletes off their game if they suffer diarrhea and vomiting in advance of their event. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done besides treat symptoms, so prevention really is the best way to deal when it comes to a viral infection like norovirus, since you basically just have to wait it out and let your body fight off the infection.

Officials are reportedly not panicking yet, though they’re not taking any chances, either. Vox reports that more than 1,200 guards have been quarantined over norovirus fears.

The disease incubates very quickly, usually revealing its symptoms in 12 to 48 hours after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, patients usually start to feel better after one to three days, so even if athletes get sick, their Olympic dreams won’t necessarily be shattered. Time will tell how badly this norovirus outbreak affects the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.


Every time a person would ask me about my heritage, I would simply shrug. My mom was born in the Italian seaside town of Ancona, while my dad hails from Quito — the mountainous capital of Ecuador. After falling in love on the east coast of the Italian peninsula, my parents settled years later in another swampier, peninsula — Florida. And that’s where yours truly came into the picture.

Earlier this month, members of the aerospace community gathered again for the 69th International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, and unless you zipped around the conference at the speed of light, you might have missed a few things. But not to worry, we have the highlights. This year, the industry seemed over the moon for — the moon.

Native American scholars and genetic ancestry experts are not impressed with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s genetic test showing that she has a Native American ancestry. On Monday, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts released the test results as an apparent response to President Donald Trump’s repeated mockery over her purported Native American heritage, which has included his nicknaming her “Pocahontas.” While the test supports the claim that Warren has a Native American ancestor, critics say the DNA evidence is beside the point.

In this special feature, we have invited top astronomers to handpick the Hubble Space Telescope image that has the most scientific relevance to them. The images they’ve chosen aren’t always the colorful glory shots that populate the countless “best of” galleries around the internet, but rather their impact comes in the scientific insights they reveal.

American biologist Roger Payne, Ph.D., caught the world’s ears with humpback whale songs in the early 1970s. His record of whale sounds — the first to capture the marine mammal’s complex compositions — went on to become a best-seller and ignited a movement to rescue their dwindling populations that continues into the present. Today, Payne’s recordings continue to be crucial to our understanding of whales. In a study released Thursday in Scientific Reports, they reveal a phenomenon that’s been going on for at least 36 years.