Sun Spins JavaOne Flu Outbreak

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Unfortunately, it wasn't just programming bugs JavaOne attendees had to contend with as the San Francisco Department of Public Health on Thursday issued an alert warning of the outbreak of a nausea-inducing Norovirus at the week-long event at the city's Moscone Center.

"The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) was notified on Wednesday May 7, 2008, of several persons that became ill after attending or working at conferences at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from April 30, 2008 through May 8, 2008. The SFDPH is working with the organizers of the meeting facilities to make cleaning recommendations and to confirm the cause of the illnesses. The ill attendees/workers are suspected to have a viral illness called Norovirus. Noroviruses are a common cause of the 'stomach flu,' or gastroenteritis," the SFDPH alert stated.

While the SFDPH alert seemed to indicate that the Norovirus outbreak was concentrated at the Moscone Center, Sun's JavaOne team described the conference venue as just "part of the San Francisco area impacted." In a Friday e-mail to registered JavaOne attendees, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun assured conference-goers that the show would go on:

"The JavaOne conference team has been notified by the San Francisco Department of Public Health about an identified outbreak of a virus in the San Francisco area. Testing is still underway to identify the specific virus in question, but they believe it to be the Norovirus, a common cause of the 'stomach flu,' which can cause temporary flu-like symptoms for up to 48 hours. Part of the San Francisco area impacted includes the Moscone Center, the site of the JavaOne conference which is being held this week. We are working with the appropriate San Francisco Department of Public Health and Moscone representatives to mitigate the impact this will have on the conference and steps are being taken overnight to disinfect the facility. We have not received any indication that the show should end early, so will have the full schedule of events on Friday as planned. We hope to see you then."

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According to the SFDPH, the symptoms of Norovirus illness "include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly and the infected person may feel very sick. The illness is usually brief, with symptoms lasting only about one or two days."