A growing number of Georgetown University students and staff battling gastrointestinal illness have contracted a case of norovirus this week.
A growing number of Georgetown students and workers with gastrointestinal illness have seen a case of norovirus this week.
Georgetown University confirmed on Saturday that it has begun cleaning and sterilizing 46 student rooms, all of which contain people infected with the virus. This came after an update on Friday night revealed that the disease was caused by norovirus.
Stomach diseases can be spread from person to person, as well as by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and putting fingers in their mouths, the school said.
So far, the university said that more than 90 students have reported symptoms that may be favorable to norovirus. Continuing to update by saying that fewer than 15 were taken to emergency departments, and a small subset of those received intravenous rehydration.
Anyone showing symptoms is urged to limit contact with other people for 48 hours or until they stop showing symptoms of the virus.
The university said it is taking the following steps to help reduce the spread of norovirus:
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high traffic areas in residences, dining halls, libraries, university buildings, Yates Field House and all other campus locations.
- Thorough cleaning and disinfection of all public or common areas of the rooms and premises of the persons concerned.
- Expand the quarantine food delivery service to reduce the exposure of students to others.
Even asymptomatic students are encouraged to limit social gatherings where the virus can spread.
According to an update on Friday morning, the number of people with symptoms on the Georgetown campus has declined over the past few days.
The update, issued at 11 am, states that the disease has affected students and staff as well as people living on and off campus.
“At this time, we have not identified a common food source among those affected,” the school said in an update Friday morning.
Dr Ranit Michori, the university’s director of public health, was the first to alert the campus community to the outbreak on Tuesday evening. At that time a dozen students of the main campus were said to be ill. Reported symptoms included severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The university said most students reported “short-term symptoms” and no students were hospitalized, “despite a small number being evaluated and rehydrated in local emergency departments.”
The total number of sick students on Thursday rose to 40.
Earlier this week, the university said it was collecting stool samples to identify potential pathogens and said, tentatively, the disease does not appear to be caused by person-to-person transmission.
When the university alerted the community to the disease, Mitchori pointed to a possible link to a CDC report on a recent salmonella outbreak that affected 25 states and infected more than 120 people.
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