CU-Boulder Wardenburg Health Center Issues Precautions To Students About Norovirus Outbreak In Residence Halls

first_imgShare Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Health officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder said today that the campus is experiencing an outbreak of norovirus and is recommending precautionary measures for students and extra cleaning in certain sections of campus residence halls. Norovirus causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramping. About 35 students have been seen at Wardenburg Health Center with these symptoms since Oct. 26, said Wardenburg Director Robert Cranny. Because most of the students reporting symptoms live in campus residence halls, food poisoning initially was suspected as a cause. However, an investigation by Wardenburg staff and Boulder County Public Health found that norovirus, which is highly contagious, is the cause of the outbreak. “Although the norovirus is not life threatening, it does spread easily,” said Cranny. “For that reason we are taking every precaution to notify students via flyers, email messages and residence hall meetings so that we can stop the spread of the virus.” In addition to educating students and residence hall staff, custodial staff in the residence halls will conduct extra cleaning of residence hall restrooms. They also will take additional precautions to prevent the spread of the virus among themselves, wearing masks, gloves and goggles for the next two weeks until the outbreak subsides, Cranny said. Students are being urged to practice frequent hand washing. The virus can become airborne and then ingested in saliva or can be spread from countertops and areas around toilets. Residence halls will stock more cleaning supplies so that students can clean areas immediately if they or their roommates become sick. Additional trash bags also are being issued to assist students and residence hall staff with proper disposal after cleaning. Employees who become sick also are being asked to stay home for 72 hours after symptoms have passed because they can remain contagious. Residence hall advisors planned to meet at 2 p.m. today for instructions on how to handle the outbreak and to discuss preventative efforts and education of residence hall students. To help prevent spreading the norovirus and becoming ill, students and staff are being advised to: * wash hands frequently after using the bathroom, before preparing food, before touching the mouth or eating, and after preparing food * flush away vomitus in toilets and disinfect the area afterward using a bleach-based cleaner; when using trash bins, remove and dispose of the liner, making sure not to spread vomitus * remove and wash contaminated clothing or bed linens, using soap and hot water * not share food with people who have been sick and not to offer to share food if you have been sick * don’t work in a food service establishment until 72 hours after symptoms of the illness have passed * carefully wash fruits and vegetables before eating For more information please contact Boulder County Public Health at (303) 413-7503 or see the Centers for Disease Control Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm. Published: Nov. 3, 2004 last_img read more