July 17, 2024

Gastrointestinal Outbreak at Georgetown University in D.C.

A gastrointestinal outbreak at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. has sickened about a dozen students on the University’s main campus, according to an update from the administration. Since early afternoon on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, individuals have symptoms including severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Gastrointestinal Outbreak at Georgetown University in D.C.

Those symptoms are consistent with several pathogens that cause food poisoning, including Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, norovirus, and Clostridium perfringens. The students are being treated and are receiving support and are recovering.

The updates were sent to the Georgetown community via email from Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP, Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer. The school is coordinating with DC Health and is survey9ing patients to try to identify commonalities. Stool samples are being collected to try to determine which pathogen may have caused these illnesses.

Preliminary information indicted the the illness is not caused by person-to-person transmission, which would rule out norovirus, although most pathogens except for Cyclospora and Clostridium perfringens are spread through person-to-person contact. The university removed pre-packaged and pre-washed food items that are commonly associated with foodborne illness from the dining facilities and has continued to clear and disinfect residence halls and dining areas.

Most students are reporting short lived symptoms and no students have been hospitalized, although some have been provided with rehydration at local emergency departments.

While the pathogen that has made people sick is not known, one of the updates mentioned the multistate Salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 127 people in 25 states. No one in Washington, D.C. is currently included in the outbreak’s case count, although there are nine people sick in Virginia. Students are being advised to stay home or in their rooms and to not attend class or show up for work as long as they are ill.

Any symptoms should be reported to the GU360 Daily Health Attestation. Students can contact the Student Health Center or reach an on-call Student Health Center clinician after hours by calling the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. If you are  a student and have been ill with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, you may be part of this gastrointestinal outbreak at Georgetown University.

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