NOROVIRUS WATCH 2012: 40 Howard University Cases Confirmed, Illness Spreads to Fairfax County
The illness keeps spreading! In a statement released this afternoon, Howard University has confirmed last week’s 40+ cases of gastrointestinal dysfunction were, indeed, norovirus. According to the university, 42 Howard students, one UDC student, three Howard University Hospital employees and one D.C. resident with the virus were seen at Howard University Hospital between Feb. 22 and Feb. 26. Two of the patients were admitted to the hospital. The statement says no cases have been seen since Sunday, but only time will tell who will be hit next.
Today, the Post reported that over 100 students and faculty members were absent on Friday from a Fairfax County school due to the virus.
Full HU statement after the jump:
Dear Howard University Community:
The University has confirmed through the D.C. Department of Health that the cases of gastrointestinal illness among students at the University last week were, indeed, norovirus.
From Feb. 22 to Feb. 26, 42 Howard University students, three Howard University Hospital employees, a University of the District of Columbia student and one Washington resident were seen at Howard University Hospital with the illness. Two patients were admitted.
No patients have been seen at the hospital with the illness since Feb. 26.
Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take measures to prevent the spread of norovirus and all other viruses, including washing hands frequently and disinfecting surfaces. Please see the video on the importance of hand washing and the proper procedures on the University’s website at http://www.howard.edu/newsroom/releases/2012/20120225TakeProperPrecautionsAgainstViralIllnesses.html.
The University has increased the cleaning of heavily used common areas to aid in this effort. Please use the hand sanitizers that are located in buildings across the campus to help prevent the spread of disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus, as well as other viruses, is passed through direct, close contact with an infected person; eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with the virus or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then placing hands or fingers in the mouth.
Other less common symptoms of norovirus infection include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and general sense of fatigue. These symptoms are often referred to as the "stomach flu." Unlike the influenza virus, however, gastrointestinal illness is not spread by sneezing, coughing or other airborne routes.
Additional information about norovirus has been posted on Campus Advisories and can be found on the web at the D.C. Department of Health (http://dchealth.dc.gov/doh/cwp/view,a,1370,q,602626.asp) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Norovirus).
While symptoms can be uncomfortable, norovirus illness is usually not serious and most people get better in one to two days. There is no drug treatment or vaccine for norovirus. It can lead to severe dehydration and those experiencing symptoms are encouraged to increase their intake of fluids. Illness can be more serious in young children, the elderly and people with other underlying medical conditions.
Remember, prevention is the key. Take proper precautions to remain healthy.
Image by AJC1 via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License