Investigation continues into norovirus outbreak @ MSU

Investigation continues into norovirus outbreak @ MSU

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Ingham County health officials continue to investigate an outbreak of norovirus on campus.

The Ingham County Health Department, which is leading the investigation, determined the cause April 2 after interviewing students and testing biological samples from them. County health officials are continuing to review data and , hoping to determine a source of the illness.

Norovirus, a common and contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal problems, is spread from person to person. As a precautionary measure, Michigan University staff continues to clean and disinfect all areas of campus where sick students were reported.

The Shaw Hall dining room, which was closed April 1, is expected to re-open April 6. Norovirus does not generally originate from contaminated food, but since some of the ill students had been in the dining hall, cleaning staff are taking precautionary steps to disinfect the area. All other campus dining rooms remain open.

Overall, about 30  students were treated at Sparrow Hospital this week. As of April 3, nearly all of them had been released. Medical professionals at Olin Student Health Center also fielded calls from sick students, who reported symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Gastrointestinal illnesses generally last a day or two, and for most people do not affect long-term health, Beth Alexander said. People who have symptoms should contact Olin at (517) 353-5557.

Students, faculty and staff are urged to wash their hands with for a minimum of 20 seconds each time. Hands should be washed frequently. Students also are urged to not share personal items such as toothbrushes or eating utensils. Though the cause of the illness has not been determined, increased ventilation by opening windows – even for a short time – can be helpful in limiting risk. Also, students who do become ill and live in a residence hall should let housing staff know.

Updated information will be available on the MSU home page.


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About Norovirus

    Noroviruses are highly contagious and are transmitted via the faeces and vomit of infected people, either through direct contact or throught contaminated objects or via food and water. The incubation period is one to three days.

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