NOROVIRUS WATCH 2012: Which School Will Get Hit Next?
Last week, George Washington University released a statement to students, faculty and staff saying that norovirus was to blame for 85 cases of illness in students across the campus. Since then, universities around D.C. have been working to prevent the spread of norovirus by releasing statements urging students to wash their hands.
This week, Howard University treated 40 students for symptoms that indicate the virus, though the university says it has yet to confirm that the illness is caused by norovirus.
Although it isn’t life-threatening to healthy young adults, the highly contagious virus—commonly known as 'food poisoning'—is passed through direct contact between infected people or surfaces. Symptoms? Stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea—which can lead to dehydration.
According to the CDC, norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. And this certainly isn't the first time it's hit the District. Four years ago, more than 200 Georgetown University students were sickened by the virus, causing the cancellation of basketball games and the closure of dorms and dining halls.
So which schools have it?
George Washington University: 85 cases reported last week.
Catholic University: No reported cases. (Health director: “Why are you calling us, the outbreak is at George Washington.")
Georgetown: No reported cases.
Howard University: 40 students at Howard University have been treated and released from the hospital; Howard has not confirmed their sickness was caused by norovirus.
American University: No response.
Gallaudet University: No reported cases, but students have been advised to report any symptoms.
University of the District of Columbia: No cases, but officials are distributing information on the illness.
We'll keep you updated as we hear back from other schools.
Image by AJC1 via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License