The growing number of Georgetown students and staff dealing with a gastrointestinal illness this week appear to have come down with a case of norovirus.
On Saturday, Georgetown University confirmed that it began cleaning and sanitizing 46 student rooms, all containing individuals affected by the virus. This after an update Friday evening revealed that the illness was caused by norovirus.
The stomach illness can be spread from person to person, as well as touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and by putting your fingers in your mouth, the school said.
So far, the university said that more than 90 students have reported symptoms that could be consistent with norovirus. The update continued by saying that fewer than 15 were transported to area emergency departments, and a smaller subset of those individuals received IV rehydration.
Anyone experiencing symptoms are asked to limit their exposure with other individuals for 48 hours, or until they stop showing symptoms of the virus.
The university said it is taking the following measures to help curb the spread of the norovirus:
- Increased cleanings and disinfecting of high-touch areas in residence halls, dining spaces, libraries, academic buildings, Yates Field House and all other campus spaces.
- Deep cleaning and sanitizing of rooms of affected individuals and all common or shared spaces in on campus residential facilities.
- Extending quarantine meal delivery service to limit student exposure to others.
Even students not experiencing symptoms are encouraged to limit social gatherings where the virus can spread.
The number of people on the Georgetown campus experiencing symptoms had declined over the past few days, according to an update from Friday morning.
That update, which was published at 11 a.m., said the illness has affected both students and staff as well as people living both on- and off-campus.
“At this time, we have not identified a common food source among impacted individuals,” the school said in the Friday morning update.
Dr. Ranit Mishori, the university’s chief public health officer, first alerted the campus community to the outbreak late Tuesday night. At that time, about 12 students on the main campus were said to be ill. The reported symptoms included severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The university said most students were reporting “short-lived symptoms,” and that no students have been hospitalized, “though a small number have been evaluated and provided with rehydration at local emergency departments.”
The number of sick students totaled 40 by Thursday.
Earlier this week, the university said it was collecting stool samples to determine potential pathogens and said, preliminarily, it did not appear the illness was caused by person-to-person transmission.
When the university alerted the community about the illness, Mishori referenced a possible link to a Centers for Disease Control report about a recent salmonella outbreak that has hit 25 states and sickened more than 120 people.