The Decorah, IA college is reporting multiple people on campus and in the surrounding area have been experiencing symptoms of norovirus, according to the school’s news site, the Luther College Chips Friday.


Right after the winter break, Luther College Health Services confirmed there has been an outbreak of norovirus on campus, local media reported.

The return of the school’s Nordic Choir from their recent tour is believed to be a contributing factor to the spread of the virus on campus.

The Iowa Department of Health says during cold weather, cases of norovirus, or the ‘stomach bug’, tend to increase.

Norovirus, incorrectly known as ‘stomach flu,’ is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in the United States, and it spreads quickly. Norovirus is NOT related to the flu (influenza), which is a respiratory illness caused by a different virus

Norovirus is very contagious and can live on surfaces for a very long time. It can be easily spread from person-to-person, especially in group settings, such as gatherings, daycares/schools, restaurants, and nursing homes. Individuals can reduce their risk of becoming infected through frequent hand washing using soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds. Alcohol based hand sanitizers do NOT prevent the spread of norovirus. In most cases, ill persons recover on their own. The very young and elderly are at higher risk for dehydration. Those with severe diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids.

Preventing contamination of food, drinks and surfaces is critical to preventing the spread of norovirus. Anyone with norovirus should not prepare or serve food until they have been symptom-free for three days. It is important to carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them.

The spread of norovirus can be prevented by disinfecting contaminated surfaces with household chlorine bleach-based cleaners and prompt washing of contaminated articles of clothing. Anyone showing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea should not go to daycare, school, or work until symptoms have subsided. Persons who work in nursing homes, take care of patients, or handle food should stay out of work for two to three days after symptoms end.