Local News

Norovirus sickens dozens of UNC-CH students

Posted March 4, 2013

— Norovirus has spread across the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus in recent days, leaving dozens of students with flu-like symptoms, health officials said Monday.

Students have sought medical attention for vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and fever since last week, said Stacy Shelp, spokeswoman of the Orange County Health Department. The number of cases has declined since hitting a peak Wednesday and Thursday, she said.

Only five new cases were reported Monday.

"Generally, it has been a mild and self-limited illness," said Dr. Mary Covington, executive director of UNC Campus Health Services. "They feel terrible while it is happening, but they soon get better and start to get back to normal within a day or two."

About 85 students were given surveys to help the health department and Campus Health Services determine the cause of the illnesses. The surveys focused mostly on what the students had eaten in recent days and helped eliminate residence halls, cafeterias and local restaurants as the source.

Medical health UNC campus works to kill virus

Samples from some of the afflicted students tested positive Monday for norovirus. The state lab found no positive results for salmonella, E. coli or other bacteria, officials said.

Campus Health Services issued an alert Thursday advising the public about the illness and urging people to maintain good hygiene and stay home if they feel sick.

Covington said officials are working with campus housekeepers and dining hall workers so that they use bleach products to disinfect instead of cleaning solutions. The bleach will kill the highly contagious norovirus.
 

17 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • tarheelmom2 Mar 5, 3:24 p.m.

    As a UNC employee, I see students in the restroom all the time who don't wash their hands after using the facilities. It's no wonder that stuff spreads throughout the campus! That's just nasty!!

  • SaltlifeLady Mar 4, 6:43 p.m.

    This virus is going around all the Wake County schools as well. Not sure why UNC is making the news. There was an outbreak at School of Math and Science in Durham as well not too long ago. That didn't make the news either.

  • doggypoos Mar 4, 6:25 p.m.

    That is funny. Housekeeping administrative does not allow housekeepers to use bleach on campus.

  • keeter Mar 4, 5:58 p.m.

    "According to a family member who is a UNC student, it was food poisoning or some food reaction. Several of her friends ate at a specific cafeteria on campus and all came food with the same symptoms. Bad press for campus food."

    Better not let their identity be known, they may face the honor court for letting out bad publicity for UNC!!!

  • pediatrician Mar 4, 5:26 p.m.

    norovirus is the same as the famed "cruise ship" virus that spreads like wildfire. all stool and vomit is teeming with virus so wash wash wash hands and dont eat or brush teeth or put hands in your mouth if you haven't washed hands! usually lasts 24-48 hrs and you feel awful.

  • snowl Mar 4, 4:57 p.m.

    Stomach flu is still called flu-like. Does it really matter what we call it. Wash you hands! Don't share drinks. This too shall pass.

  • k4rlcc Mar 4, 4:30 p.m.

    According to a family member who is a UNC student, it was food poisoning or some food reaction. Several of her friends ate at a specific cafeteria on campus and all came food with the same symptoms. Bad press for campus food.

  • snoflak22 Mar 4, 4:21 p.m.

    Seriously WRAL - terrible and inaccurate reporting and writing, shameful considering it is still an active influenza season. These are NOT "flu-like" symptoms. Change your headline - you're actually lying in print.

  • Student Nurse Mar 4, 3:52 p.m.

    um, the barfy bug thing is going around. A bunch of WakeTech students and their families have it but you don't see us in the news.

  • Cock a doodle doo Mar 4, 3:29 p.m.

    Norovirus

More...