At least a dozen California GOP staff members at the Republican National Convention have been quarantined in their hotel rooms after becoming ill with what appears to be a highly contagious norovirus, also known as the cruise-ship virus, according to officials from both the California GOP and local health agencies.

“It looks like norovirus,” said Pete Schade, the Erie County health commissioner. His department collected fecal samples from the afflicted staffers Tuesday morning and planned to take them to a state lab in the afternoon.

“As soon as we know a little bit more about what we’re dealing with for sure, we’ll have a better way of dealing with future precautions.”

The 550-member delegation was warned of the outbreak by state GOP officials in an email at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday. They were advised to avoid shaking hands with others, to wash hands frequently, to avoid sharing food and to not use the delegation buses to the convention if they have any symptoms — all difficult rules to follow at a political convention.

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