Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moscone, Norovirus, JavaOne - The Truth Please

I made an earlier blog post here discussing my experience with a norovirus and passing out on stage. Like most people who attended JavaOne, I never really questioned the mainstream press story until people started posting comments on my blog that seem to contradict the official story. Now I want to call out and ask for people who have had similar experiences to add comments to this blog if they want to request a more thorough investigation of what really happened.

I have also contacted a couple of reporters and asked them to look into this further. Here are the things that concern me:

1. The Contra Costa Times and others reported that the SF Department of Health became aware of the norovirus problem on Wednesday, May 7. Why were JavaOne attendees not warned until Friday at 3:00 AM and why was food allowed to be served Wed, Thurs and Friday if it was suspected that it was a food issue?

2. The official statement from Jim Soos was that no one was hospitalized, however Greg H. (he left a comment on the earlier post) was. Besides, how would he know if we went to hospitals anyways? If a spokesperson doesn't know, they had no business making such statements as fact. Understandably, Jim is probably now aware that at least one person was hospitalized and maybe didn't know at the time he spoke.

3. Most of the official press reported that only 3 non-Moscone staff got sick. Obviously more than 3 non-Moscone workers contracted it as there are myself and 4 others just on the earlier blog post. If you had it or the symptoms please leave a comment on this blog. I want to find out how many people really got sick. This official number of "3" is now wrong. The number comes from David Perry, spokesperson for Moscone who stated:
David Perry, spokesman for the Moscone Center, said 67 of people infected were staff working at the weeklong conference and 3 were attendees
See full story here

4. What the hell was Moscone doing serving us food? Here is what a statement to ponder (courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle):
The source of the virus has not yet been identified, but generally the norovirus is passed when an infected person spreads microbes either by preparing food or sharing plates or utensils, said Jim Soos, assistant director of policy and planning at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
So Moscone knew about it as early as Wednesday, but continued to serve us food Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Hmmm - was any testing done to make sure the food was safe? Were we warned that maybe the food might be the cause? No - nothing but silence! This is not right IMO.

I want to point out that I don't blame any one group. I love Sun (a lot of friends there) and I want to be at every JavaOne conference in the future. I will be back at Moscone for other conferences this year and actually know many of the staff there who are very polite and pleasant. I don't know Jim Soos but imagine he must have a tough job.

What I really want to do is to find the truth. If you know something, please add it here.


  1. I heard that a lot of Sun people got sick but they never released a number. Also a lot of contractors got sick, at least that's what the lady at the information desk said but wouldn't show me her badge name. But no one can trace down the truth. What gives? Something very fishy is going on. Did they poll every attendee to see if they fell ill? I think not.

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  3. Hi Duane

    I don't know if it counts but I got home from JavaOne and got sick on the Monday night. Just thought it was a stomach flu until a collegue sent me your post. Projectile vomiting would be an understatment. I didn't think much of it until my 2 year old got it two days later. Now we are in lock down at my house and we're bringing out the industrial cleaners.

    Not to self, less shacking hands while working the booth and more hands on demos, and bring that hand disenfectent that my wife always carries around.

    rob horne

  4. I saw many blogs but this blog is one of the most informative blog i have ever seen because of good and informative content, so thank you very much for share a nice content with us!

    Simon G.

  5. I received a communication back from Moscone and wanted to share it here. It appears that Moscone did not know that the virus was in fact Norovirus until the 10th and in fact handled the outbreak by the book. IMO - they did a good job of reacting, I just would have personally preferred to be warned earlier about the outbreak. I guess it is a tight line to walk between giving enough information and too much. Potentially, releasing errant information too early could have had negative effects on the conference and people as well. The message I received basically stated:

    "Dear Mr. Nickull:
    With regard to your inquiry: The first cases of stomach flu were reported to the medical staff at the building on May 7th. The San Francisco Health Department was immediately notified and began their investigation. Based upon their initial review they felt that it was possibly a norovirus but were not certain until they could perform additional tests. There was no way to determine the origin of illnesses or how they were spread at that time. As a precaution the building was immediately disinfected pending the Health Departments determination. The virus was not officially identified as a norovirus until July 10th. Although there was no official determination notification was made by Sun as they had the best ability to reach the majority of attendees. Most importantly the City and State Health departments determined that the virus was environmental (passed by touch) and not related to food handling. I hope this answers your questions.
    Sincerely XXXXXXXXXXXX

    Yes - this answer my questions and I believe Moscone, the City of SF and Sun all acted well. The media (if you read carefully) only stated that Norovirus was "suspected" on Wed and not confirmed. Thank you to everyone and see you all at Java One next year (WOOT).

  6. Thank you! Old article but usefull!

    All my love for you!


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