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Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there, and a virus truly cares not for a fools hubris. It's important to keep in mind that in general they are ubiquitous to surface and shallow groundwaters, though a countless many present no health threat to us. Strains of noroviruses in particular persist in reservoirs of human, canine, feline, murine, bovine, and swine; making them quite pernicious and they clocks in at roughly .04 microns, which is well below the capture threshold of nearly all viable water filters. This is why sterilization (bleach or UV) is a mandatory step on the Grand for creating drinking water, so skipping either is a real gamble. Though its not like there is a much higher concentration in the Colorado River there (to my knowledge), rather its likely both that the odds of an occurrence rise during high-use season and the dire situation should an outbreak happen given the isolated setting. That said...the primary vector for norovirus exposure is water/evironment and then transmission through food/poor hygiene. Although daily cleaning all kitchen surfaces with a weak Star San (acid-based, no rinse sanitizer) solution before meal prep and regular hand-washing esp among the folks making the food can do a remarkable job keeping this nasty pathogen at bay.

The debilitating misery that accompanies a noroviruses infection is no joke, and can hardly think of a worse place to have one than in the Grand Canyon. Entire cruise ships have indeed returned to port over this, and perhaps as some learned from the recent pandemic....viruses are real and can spread like wildfire.
 
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