Stanford: 52 sick students may have highly contageous stomach virus

STANFORD (BCN)

The 52 Stanford University students who have fallen ill since Wednesday night likely have the noro virus, similar to the stomach flu, according to a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

At about 8 p.m. Wednesday, the health department was informed that students have become sick, including four who were treated for dehydration at Stanford University Medical Center, county health spokeswoman Amy Cornell said.

The students, who live in same campus dormitory Florence Moore Hall, reported feeling symptoms similar to the noro virus, a highly contagious illness that causes vomiting, stomach pains, headaches, fatigue and diarrhea, Cornell said.

“It’s the beginning of the season” for that type of flu virus, Cornell said.

Stanford reported that the number of sick students in the dormitory, originally 48, had risen to 52 this afternoon.

As a precaution, Stanford will be sanitizing the Florence Moore dining hall over the next two days, according to Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin. The dining hall is normally closed on Friday and Saturday.

However, a preliminary investigation does not indicate that any employees at the dining hall were the source of the outbreak, nor that the disease spread through a common food source.

All common areas and bathrooms in the dormitory will also undergo a thorough cleaning, Lapin said.

The county health department sent a nurse and viral specialist to the dormitory to try and discover what may have caused the outbreak by analyzing a fecal sample from an ill student, Cornell said.

The virus can be contracted from contaminated food and water and exposure to infected people and spreads very quickly, Lapin said.

The sickness usually goes away in one to three days, however it can still spread for more than 72 hours after the initial infection so students are advised to be vigilant about hygiene and limit person-to-person contact.

(Copyright 2013 Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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