While the worst viral outbreak to strike hikers in Appalachian Trail history is traveling north from Georgia into Pennsylvania, health officials say there is really no reason for area residents to be concerned.
Bob Proudman, director of conservation operations for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, said an outbreak of norovirus among trail hikers began somewhere around the Tennessee-North Carolina border about four weeks ago and is moving north with the hikers.
Norovirus has a 12- to 48-hour incubation period, lasts 24 to 60 hours and may cause severe diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.
“You could say it’s the most serious outbreak in AT history. There was one case of hanatavirus which is very serious, in 1990. It struck an Australian hiker and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) got involved,” he said. Hantavirus is a contagious disease spread by rodents.