December 4, 2016

Norovirus Outbreak at University of Rochester

The University of Rochester, New York, has released a statement stating that a norovirus-like outbreak at that campus has sickened at least 120 students. One student’s test has returned positive for the virus. Most of those sickened live on River Campus, and others attend the Eastman School of Music.

NorovirusNo students have been admitted to the hospital in this outbreak, although some have been treated in emergency departments. The Health Services director, Dr. Ralph Manchester, stated that the number of new cases per day is staring to decline. The outbreak was first recognized by the college on April 11, 2016. On April 15, 2016, there were 21 cases reported. Some students are still ill, while others have recovered.

Symptoms include a sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This illness increases during colder months, when most people stay indoors. It is easily spread in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships.

Students are being asked to sanitize their living spaces and belongings. The college has distributed hydrogen peroxide wipes. In addition, University Facilities and ServePro staff are working to disinfect areas throughout River Campus and the Eastman School of Music.

Wipes are being placed in the lobbies, lounges, and kitchens of residential floors. Vomit bags are also available at the Health offices. Commonly touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, railings, tabletops, and keyboards are being disinfected.

University officials are asking that if anyone sees an area that needs cleaning they call the University Facilities Customer Service line at 273-4567 24 hours a day. In addition, students are asked to wash clothing or bedding that has been exposed to the virus with a hot water wash and high temperature drying cycle. Norovirus can live for weeks on solid surfaces.

The best way to prevent the spread of this virus is to wash hands frequently using soap and water. Hand sanitizers are not as effective against norovirus. Do not share food or beverages with anyone. Assume that all vomit contains norovirus. If anyone is sick with these symptoms, they should wait 48 hours after the symptoms have ended before going out in public.

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