Dozens sickened in norovirus outbreak at NC State

Posted December 8, 2017 11:13 a.m. EST
Updated December 11, 2017 2:01 p.m. EST

— About 60 North Carolina State University students have exhibited norovirus-like symptoms this week, and the Wake County Human Services Department confirmed Thursday an outbreak of the gastrointestinal illness on campus.

On Monday, Julie Ann Casani, student health director, said a total of 70 students have been treated so far for the illness and university officials were reaching out to those sickened by the virus.

Most of the affected students live in Alexander Hall, but some cases of ill students have been received from a handful of other on- and off-campus housing locations, N.C. State officials said.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea.

The most effective way to stop the spread of the virus is to practice good hand-washing and personal hygiene, officials said. Anyone exhibiting symptoms and feel ill should thoroughly wash their hands after any bathroom visit and should not prepare food for or serve food to others. It is also important to get adequate rest and good oral hydration, both when ill and when trying not to become ill, they said.

N.C. State is taking steps to contain the spread of the illness, and to assist ill students:

  • Student Health is actively working with University Housing to contact all identified sick students who live on campus to check on their health and needs.
  • Wellness kits containing liquids and easy-to-digest foods have been provided to affected students.
  • Students exhibiting gastrointestinal issues have been instructed to remain in their residences throughout their illness in an effort to not spread the virus to others.
  • University Housekeeping staff have increased cleaning operations in affected areas as a precaution, including cleaning restrooms, hand railings and door knobs, and will continue to do so daily until the illness passes.
  • University Housekeeping will provide approved cleaning supplies to affected students for their university-owned personal living spaces.
  • Faculty of the students who are ill have been notified.

Students experiencing persistent, severe vomiting or diarrhea should go to the Student Health Center, a personal health care provider or an emergency health care facility. If students, faculty or staff have questions, please contact the Wolfpack Response Line at 919.512.3272.

Casani said Monday that school health officials have not yet determined how the victims contracted the virus.