By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

An outbreak of gastrointestinal illness on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, DC has been linked to norovirus, according to school officials Friday.


Georgetown University’s VP & Chief Public Health Officer, Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS said, “We have been investigating a gastrointestinal illness that has impacted numerous members of our community. This afternoon, testing from two samples revealed that the illness was caused by norovirus, which can spread from person to person. We are waiting for the results of additional samples.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus can spread “if you eat food or drink liquids that are contaminated with the norovirus, touch surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then put your fingers in your mouth, or have direct contact with someone who is infected with norovirus.”

Dr. Mishori also said more than 90 students reported symptoms that could be consistent with norovirus.  Fewer than 15 were transported to area emergency departments, and a smaller subset of those individuals received IV rehydration. No students required hospitalization.

“We are continuing to take appropriate steps to respond to the needs of our community and to prevent the spread of the virus. We are in regular contact with DC Health and continue to follow its guidance. Following a visit from DC Health, we have determined that campus dining locations, including Leo O’Donovan Hall, can safely remain open.”

Some immediate measures we are taking include:

  • Additional increased cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas in residence halls, dining spaces, libraries, academic buildings, Yates Field House and all other University spaces.
  • Starting tonight the Office of Planning and Facilities Management will begin deep cleaning and sanitizing of rooms of affected individuals and all common or shared spaces in on campus residential facilities.

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Norovirus is a highly contagious group of viruses that cause symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Individuals may also have low-grade fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.