On 27th March Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) was notified of an outbreak of gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) in residents and staff at University Hall, one of Auckland University’s halls of residence. Additional cases were reported from Grafton, the Student Apartments and Whitaker Halls last week.


Laboratory results indicate norovirus as the cause, although the source of the outbreak has yet to be determined.

Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, headaches, chills, aching muscles and diarrhea.

As of April 7th, approximately 168 cases have been notified with an illness onset between 26 March and 3rd April. Several of the cases attended emergency departments, but we are not aware of any hospital admissions.

As is its normal responsibility Auckland Regional Public Health Service is investigating and managing the outbreak. ARPHS is working closely with University Health Services and Student Life. The outbreak appears to be nearly over, with few cases notified with onset dates over the Easter weekend and the halls being nearly empty currently due to Easter and mid semester break.

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.