Contagious Virus Affects GW Students
Amanda Pellegrino, Tower Staff
February 17, 2012
Filed under News
Students at the George Washington University have recently been diagnosed with the norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness that spreads easily. Catholic University administrators are urging students to take precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the disease.
The norovirus has affected about 85 students this week, according to the GW University Student Health Service. Although experts are still unsure of where the virus originated, most of the cases have been found at the Foggy Bottom campus.
In an effort to prevent spreading the infection on campus, the University has placed additional hand sanitizer stations throughout campus and increased the frequency of cleaning popular surfaces such as doorknobs, keyboards and banisters.
The most common symptoms of the virus include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramping. Symptoms such as fevers, chills, headaches and fatigue are less frequent. Most people recover from the virus within two or three days, and they are contagious for a minimum of three days after they catch the virus.
The Center for Disease Control says that the viruses are found in the vomit or stool of infected people. People can fall ill with the norovirus through consuming foods or liquids contaminated with the virus, touching tainted surfaces, contacting one’s face and sharing food, drink or utensils with someone who has the virus.
“Words of advice to avoid getting the norovirus: suck it up and stay in,” said Sarah Plante, a senior who caught the disease during her freshman year.
There is no vaccine to prevent getting the illness and there are currently no medications that can be used to treat it. Many precautions, however, can be taken to avoid catching or spreading the infection. These include washing hands carefully, cleaning and sanitizing surfaces that receive high traffic, and thoroughly washing possibly contaminated clothing.
“It was one of the worst illnesses I’ve ever had,” said Kristen Connors, a senior. “Wash your hands!”