Canadian team tak­ing pre­cau­tions at worlds due to stom­ach virus

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY LORI EW­ING

Canada is mov­ing some of its ath­letes into new ac­com­mo­da­tions at the world track and field cham­pi­onships to avoid a stom­ach bug.

Ath­letes still to ar­rive in town will stay at a dif­fer­ent ho­tel than the one in cen­tral Lon­don, where nine Canadian ath­letes and staff mem­bers have be­come ill, Canadian team doc­tor Paddy McCluskey said Tues­day.

And sev­eral Canadian ath­letes have been moved to higher floors in the ho­tel.

“We’ve been able to ac­com­mo­date that for not ev­ery­one, but for a num­ber of peo­ple,” McCluskey said on mov­ing to higher rooms. “Un­for­tu­nately the ho­tel has a lim­ited num­ber of beds avail­able, there’s over 900 guests here. . . and so the lo­gis­tics are that they’re run­ning out of space in gen­eral.”

Canadian Eric Gil­lis dropped out of Sun­day’s marathon around the 30-kilo­me­tre mark a cou­ple of days af­ter fall­ing ill, and sprinter Aaron Brown said he’d been quar­an­tined af­ter catch­ing the norovirus, which causes vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhea, a low-grade fever and ab­dom­i­nal pain.

“The last two days have been bet­ter for us in terms of new cases, so I’m re­ally hope­ful we’re com­ing out the other end,” McCluskey said. “You al­ways have to be re­ally dili­gent about th­ese kinds of things, main­tain strict hand wash­ing, and so we’re do­ing our best in that. But I’m re­ally hope­ful that we’re through the worst of it.”

The out­break was an­other bad break for the Canadian team, which lost stars An­dre De Grasse and Derek Drouin to in­jury.

An es­ti­mated 30 peo­ple from sev­eral teams in­clud­ing Canada, Ger­many, Ire­land and Botswana, who are stay­ing at the Tower Ho­tel have been ill. The Canadian team’s floors have been hit par­tic­u­larly hard.

Tower Ho­tel said in a state­ment: “We have worked col­lab­o­ra­tively with the EHO (En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Of­fi­cer) and the IAAF to in­ves­ti­gate the ori­gins of the ill­ness and can con­firm that the ho­tel was not the source.

“We have fol­lowed strict hy­giene pro­to­col, en­sur­ing that those af­fected are not in con­tact with other guests and all pub­lic ar­eas have been thor­oughly san­i­tized.”

McCluskey said that pub­lic health is con­fi­dent it’s not the food or water in the ho­tel.

“And I’ve been sat­is­fied with their ex­pla­na­tion about that. (But) I think the ho­tel would agree that there’s a num­ber of peo­ple in the ho­tel that are af­fected,” he said, ad­ding there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween the lo­ca­tion of the virus, and the source.

“I don’t be­lieve the ho­tel is the source,” he said.

Medal favourite Isaac Mak­wala of Botswana pulled out of his 200-me­tre heat on Mon­day night, but later said he had food poi­son­ing. Mak­wala was ex­pected to be the main chal­lenger to Wayde van Niek­erk in both the 200 and the 400. And Ire­land’s Thomas Barr pulled out of 400 hur­dles af­ter catch­ing the stom­ach virus.

Cana­di­ans yet to ar­rive in Lon­don in­clude race walk­ers, and run­ners in the women’s 5,000 me­tres.

Norovirus is tough on ath­letes’ bod­ies, McCluskey said, be­cause it causes fluid and elec­trolyte loss.

“And in­de­pen­dent of the symp­toms, those can have an im­pact on fa­tigue and the zip and en­ergy that you feel,” he said. “We have taken pre­cau­tions and mea­sures to al­low peo­ple to try to re­plen­ish those elec­trolytes.

“Ath­letes that have been af­fected have been per­form­ing bet­ter than ex­pected, to be fair. And so we’ve been happy with that.”

Brown re­cov­ered to run his heat of the 200, but was dis­qual­i­fied for a lane vi­o­la­tion. Af­ter­ward he de­scribed the stom­ach virus say­ing “I was in my room the en­tire day in the dark like I was a vam­pire.

“It hit at night, couldn’t sleep, aching stom­ach. Felt like the movie ‘Alien,’ when they breed the alien and the thing’s run­ning around in­side. It felt like that. I was hold­ing my stom­ach the en­tire night.”

CP PHOTO

Tenth-place fin­isher Eric Gil­lis of Antigo­nish, N.S., ap­proaches the finish line in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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