PORTLAND - You might want to think twice before using a diaper-changing table in a public restroom. Washington County health experts traced a norovirus outbreak to a changing table at a Hillsboro car dealership.
Washington County Epidemiologist, Kim Repp, said in May of 2012, she investigated the outbreak that sickened more than a dozen people.
At first, Repp believed the virus came from sandwiches served during a business meeting at the dealership.
But then, an employee remembered a customer with a sick child who had made a mess on the bathroom changing table. That employee cleaned it up, before returning to the luncheon.
"Even though she washed her hands really well, (the virus) was either transmitted from other people touching the food or the bathroom surfaces," said Repp. "It got a lot of people sick."
Repp said only bleach will kill norovirus on surfaces, but most changing tables say bleach will damage the plastic coating.
On top of that, Repp says most businesses don't keep the changing tables stocked with disposable liners.
"(Parents) should always use a protective barrier before putting their child on changing stations, and make sure it's not something that's reusable," warned Repp.
She added that while washing your hands with soap won't kill the virus, it's important to do so before and after changing a your baby.
"Soap gets the bug off of your hands before you infect yourself," said Repp. "If you've ever had norovirus, you don't ever want it again."