Norovirus responsible for illness at UNC

Mar. 04, 2013 @ 07:01 PM

The norovirus is being blamed for causing approximately 85 UNC students to seek medical attention for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or fever between Feb. 27 and March 1.

According to a news release sent out Monday afternoon by the Orange County Health Department, three of five stool samples sent to the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health tested positive for norovirus.    

Samples were tested for salmonella, shigella, campylobacter and shiga-toxin producing ecoli and all were negative

An electronic survey was sent to students seen by Campus Health Service in an effort to identify a possible common exposure. Fifty surveys were returned with no single meal or venue indicated as a likely source of the exposures.

Campus Health Services reported seeing five students for gastrointestinal issues Monday by 5 p.m., but officials said that is a normal number for this time of year and is not necessarily related to last week’s outbreak.

As a preventive measure, campus dining and campus housing will use additional disinfecting measures to eliminate norovirus in facilities where students have been ill.

Health Department officials said in the news release that individuals can help prevent norovirus with proper hand washing and cleaning of commonly touched surfaces with bleach-based cleaning supplies.

Food handlers should not work in food service until symptom-free for 72 hours after experiencing a noro-like illness.