On June 27 the Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre issued a public notice of a potential Norovirus outbreak. The notice stated that an unconfirmed viral outbreak was affecting select passengers and crew who disembarked from the B.C. Ferries Northern Adventure in Port Hardy late in the day on June 26.
Anne Salter from North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel in Port Hardy says a guest at the hostel came off a ferry and was experiencing illness. Salter says that after speaking with the individual and hearing that others on the ferry had also been sick, she then called the Chamber of Commerce.
A representative from the B.C. Ferries Bear Cove Terminal who asked not to be identified said that there was never any Norovirus onboard the ferry, and said the public notice misidentified the ferry, naming the Northern Adventure when it was the Northern Expedition. B.C.Ferries asked for the notice to be removed. Deborah Marshall, executive director for Public Affairs for B.C. Ferries said they investigated the issue and have found no evidence of Norovirus onboard or received calls from additional passengers.
The Chamber of Commerce declined to comment on the issue. According to Health Canada, Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis, symptoms of which include diarrhea and vomiting. They are common and very contagious. The name comes from the location of where the virus was first identified in 1972-Norwalk, Ohio. It spreads through direct contact, touching contaminated surfaces, or ingesting food or water that has the virus in it.