A new report Monday morning reveals the NBA suffered badly from a highly contagious intestinal virus among players and staff -- on and off the court.
The study, embargoed until Monday at 12:01 a.m., found that as many as 13 National Basketball Association franchises located in 11 different states around the country were affected by a norovirus outbreak last year. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was published by London's Oxford University.
A total of 21 unnamed players and three staff members of 13 unnamed teams were affected, and four of the teams had multiple cases of the illness, according to study author Rishi Desai.
The NBA teams with cases played a total of 49 games against one another during the study period. Two of those games were determined to be potential team-to-team transmission events.
Norovirus causes vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It's most famous for striking cruise ship passengers, according to WebMD. The norovirus is responsible for nearly 21 million outbreaks each year. Once someone is infected from the bad food, the virus can spread from person to person very quickly, from
shaking hands or other close contact.
The study concluded that although norovirus outbreaks have been previously reported in recreational sports, this is the first known report of a norovirus outbreak within a professional sports association.
Gastrointestinal illness is the second most common non-game related injury or illness among NBA players, according to 10 years of medical research.
Scientists concluded that to help limit future transmission of the illness, NBA teams should focus on strict personal hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and running water instead of using a hand sanitizer. Experts are also encouraging more frequent disinfection of locker rooms.
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