85 Norovirus Cases Reported at GWU
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012 02:02
Eighty-five students at The George Washington University have been diagnosed with norovirus, according to an email alert the university sent to its students Wednesday.
Officials from GWU's Student Health Service and the D.C. Department of Health announced that cases of gastrointestinal illness that had cropped up on campus this week were caused by the virus.
According the Department of Health, norovirus is highly infectious and can be transmitted via food and hand-to-hand contact. Symptoms typically last one to two days but can be severe and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
The GWU alert urged students to take preventative measures to protect themselves against the virus.
According to the alert, administrators have been unable to pinpoint the source of the infection or determine any trends in its spread. Cases have been identified on the both the main and Mount Vernon campuses and have been reported among students living, studying and dining in a variety of locations.
"No single commonality has been identified to date," the alert said.
According to GWU freshman David Meni, the virus's impact has been widespread.
"Most people know someone who is sick or feeling ill," he said.
A university broadcast email sent to Georgetown students, faculty and staff Thursday night stated that no incidents of the virus have been reported on GU's campus. But the alert echoed many of the warnings sent out by GWU officials.
"Students who are not feeling well and experiencing symptoms of severe vomiting and diarrhea should seek medical treatment at the Student Health Center or Georgetown University Hospital," the email said. "In general, if you feel ill, please use good judgment and refrain from group activities."
According to the email, additional hand sanitizer dispensers will be set up at various locations around campus and cleaning staff have been asked to pay extra attention to common areas and high-contact surfaces as precautionary measures.
The university said it will continue to send emergency updates as needed.
Hoya Staff Writer Matthew Strauss contributed to this report.