Westgate Las Vegas Norovirus Reports Make it Second Summer Running for City’s Hotels to Get Hit by Contagious Diseases

Posted on: July 5, 2018, 11:45h. 

Last updated on: July 5, 2018, 11:47h.

Norovirus — the disease that’s most commonly associated with spreading like wildfire on cruise ships and that causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms that can last as long three days — has crept up at the Westgate in Las Vegas.

Norovirus outbreak Westgate Las Vegas
Norovirus: more readily associated with cruise lines, the contagious illness has seen an outbreak at the Westgate Las Vegas this summer. (Image: Cruise Lines Int’l Assoc.)

Fifteen employees, and an unconfirmed number of guests, have reported being sick, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. It’s the second consecutive summer that a Las Vegas casino resort is dealing with an illness outbreak: last summer, Legionnaires disease hit the Rio hard at about the same time, when the World Series of Poker was in full swing.

Officials at the Southern Nevada Health District say the reported symptoms resemble that of norovirus, also known as stomach flu.  The health district is investigating the outbreak. A corresponding online survey distributed by the organization queries recent Westgate guests.

I’ve never experienced something like that before. Not only were we out [due to] the hospital bills, but of course, the loss of income,” Brian Linss, a comic artist who attended the convention told the R-J.

The Westgate recently hosted a convention where several attendants say they got sick while attending, but the SNHD has not confirmed the total number of cases.

Legions of Legionnaires

The outbreak at the Westgate isn’t something that will take health officials by surprise. Where people from all across the world travel and stay in the same building, the spread of a virus or bacterial disease isn’t uncommon.

During the 2017 World Series of Poker, the SNHD began investigating a breakout of Legionnaires disease at the Rio Hotel and Casino. To combat the outbreak, an entire tower at the Rio was evacuated while the rooms and plumbing system were treated. The district ultimately attributed seven cases of the disease to the Rio outbreak.

In 2011, the Aria Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip reported a Legionnaire’s outbreak during June and July. An investigation by the SNHD confirmed 10 cases were related to the Aria outbreak. But the investigation also said there were likely a number of additional cases that went unreported.

Common Problem

And it’s not just Las Vegas: Legionnaires was also reported in 2017 at The Parisian Macao in Macau. The Parisian is owned by Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO and billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

And last December, Christopher Moncado, a 50-year old man from California, sued Caesar’s Entertainment, after the SNHD confirmed he was hospitalized with the illness last year, FOX 5 Las Vegas reported.

Westgate COO Mark Waltrip told the R-J that the resort is replacing glassware at bars and adding extra hand sanitizer throughout the casino while the SNHD investigates the resort’s kitchens and cleaning protocols.