June 24, 2022

Georgetown Outbreak Was Norovirus; 130 Students and Staff Sickened

The Georgetown outbreak was norovirus, according to a new update posted on the University web site. In one week, 130 students, faculty, and staff reported symptoms consistent with the infection, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most of those sickened got better 12 hours after symptom onset, which is consistent with this infection. And while some students were treated at emergency rooms for dehydration, no one was hospitalized.

Georgetown Outbreak Was Norovirus; 130 Students and Staff Sickened

Two isolates teated positive for the virus. The university has been deep cleaning and sanitizing the rooms of patients and all common or shared spaces in the residential facilities. While the outbreak ws ongoing, quarantine meal delivery was initiated so students could eat and avoid dehydration, one of thee common side effects of norovirus, while limiting their exposure to others.

Norovirus is passed thorough contaminated food and drink, through touching contaminated surfaces, and through person-to-person contact. The virus is very contagious and has a small infection load.

Limiting contact among the students, cleaning surfaces, and frequent hand washing reduced the number of cases on campus fairly quickly after these measures were implementated. Students were encouraged to stay in their rooms, stay hydrated, and practice good hand hygiene while the outbreak was ongoing.

Norovirus outbreaks are common in residential facilities such as college dorms, nursing homes, and schools. This type of infection increases during the colder months when more people are gathered inside.

The best way to prevent norovirus outbreaks is to practice good hand washing, especially after using the bathroom and caring for someone who is ill; and by staying home from work or school when you are sick.

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