130 report symptoms in suspected norovirus outbreak at Georgetown

The number of students, staff and faculty sickened by a suspected norovirus outbreak on the Georgetown campus now stands at 130, the university said Monday morning.

That’s the total number of people who have reported symptoms “that could be consistent with norovirus,” the university said in a 9 a.m. update to the campus community.

Norovirus, a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea and spreads from person-to-person, is the suspected culprit behind the outbreak of a mystery gastrointestinal illness on the university campus that was first reported last Tuesday.

“The vast majority of cases were resolved 12 hours after onset of symptoms and did not require medical treatment,” the university said in the update, adding that about a dozen students have been taken to emergency rooms to receive rehydration and one student required inpatient care.

Georgetown said it now has more than 24 staff members dedicated full-time to cleaning high-touch surfaces in residence halls, dining areas and other spaces around campus.

Norovirus was first identified in two samples on Friday, said the university’s chief public health officer, Dr. Ranit Mishori. That was a few days after the first students reported falling ill.

This weekend, the university’s facilities team began deep cleaning residences of students who reported symptoms and all common or shared spaces on campus residential facilities.

As of Saturday, the school said a total of 46 rooms had been cleaned.

The school said it is working with D.C. Health on the response and the agency determined that campus dining locations, including Leo O’Donovan Hall, could safely remain open.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus can spread if you eat food or drink liquids contaminated with the norovirus, touch contaminated surfaces or objects and then put your fingers in your mouth or have direct contact with someone infected with the virus.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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