Norovirus has hit the Miami University campus. Approximately 200 students have been stricken with the illness in Oxford, Ohio.
In the past several weeks, the Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan also had 100 to 200 students come down with norovirus, Fox News reports. The virus is spread person-to-person after a person has touched something contaminated with the germs.
Norovirus is reportedly the most common type of food-borne diseases in the country. Outbreaks typically occur in places where many people are huddled in close quarters such as hospitals, schools and universities, and cruise ships, MSN notes.
— WHIOTV (@whiotv) February 23, 2016
Miami University officials have warned students to increase their hygiene efforts and thoroughly wash their hands and disinfect their belongings and surroundings to stop norovirus from spreading. Students who have been infected have reported symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
The Ohio college has also enhanced its cleaning procedure and has increased the availability of instant hand sanitizers in common areas. Miami University is located about 35 miles north of Cincinnati.
University spokeswoman Carole Johnson says norovirus was initially detected after five students became sick more than a week ago. She says the students afflicted earlier are doing much better now.
About 20,000 students and staffers live, learn, or work on the Miami University campus. The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified.
— The Miami Student (@miamistudent) February 23, 2016
“We have been very diligent in our cleaning and are using products that combat the virus in our residential and dining halls,” Miami University spokesperson Carole Johnson said. “A small number of the students have gone to a local hospital since the outbreak for dehydration symptoms.”
Pennsylvania doctor Edward Ramoska stated during an interview with CBS News, that norovirus causes mini-epidemics quite frequently. The Hahnemann University Hospital emergency room doctor stated that when people are clustered in close proximity to one another, particularly during the winter, virus outbreaks are known to occur.
“When somebody goes to the bathroom, and they don’t wash their hands very well, they go touching the door knob or touching something else you can certainly spread it that way,” Dr. Ramoska added. “People can get dehydrated, and so people can faint and things like that. That’s the more dangerous sides of the disease.”
Typically, most norovirus victims fully recover from the symptoms in 24 to 72 hours. The illness is both easily and quickly transmitted. Although most norovirus victims recover from the food-borne illness, between 570 and 800 deaths do stem from such outbreaks each year in the United States.
There is no medication that can be prescribed to combat norovirus. The infection is a viral and not a bacterial health issue, therefore, it cannot be wiped out via antibiotics. Victims of the infection are encouraged to drink plenty of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated and to replenish the fluids in their systems lost due to vomiting and diarrhea.
Here’s an excerpt from the CDC norovirus information and warnings alert.
“Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. You can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed. This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up. These symptoms can be serious for some people, especially young children and older adults.”
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, approximately 21 million people are affected by the virus in America on an annual basis.
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