Officials with Hamilton College in Clinton, NY are reporting a norovirus outbreak on campus. More than two dozen students have become sick with symptoms consistent with the virus, according to the Student Health Center.
Samples that were laboratory tested were confirmed positive for norovirus.
Facilities Management personnel began disinfecting residence hall bathrooms and common areas Wednesday morning and were providing disinfectant wipes effective for killing the virus to residence halls and offices throughout campus. Students and employees were instructed to use the wipes to disinfect primary contact points such as doorknobs, computer keyboards, desktops, armchairs, and any other non-porous surface.
Associate Dean of Students for Health and Safety Jeff Landry said the college’s two dining halls, diner, and the on-campus pub would be closed on a rotating basis for special cleaning.
Part of the mitigation effort includes members of the College’s Facilities Management team and an outside contractor conducting a concentrated cleaning effort for all public spaces, including classrooms, lounges, study rooms, and similar spaces. Cleaning will take place around scheduled events, but will require the early closing of Burke Library and the Blood Fitness Center. Other buildings in the process of being cleaned will be closed to ensure safety and efficient operation.
Cleaning is expected to take place throughout the night Wednesday into early Thursday morning. Efforts will be modified or increased as necessary.
Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.
The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills,headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.
Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.