Norovirus Behind University Of Michigan Outbreak

The Washtenaw County Health Department just confirmed <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/norovirus">norovirus as the origin of an outbreak involving dozens of University of Michigan sorority sisters, said AnnArbor.com

According to Susan Cerniglia, spokeswoman for the Washtenaw County Public Health Department, norovirus outbreaks tend to occur this time of year with people spending more time inside, said AnnArbor.com.

Following a report of 37 women falling ill at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house at Tappan Avenue, October 23, the Ann Arbor police and fire departments responded, said AnnArbor.com. The department said that women at the Tappan Avenue house as well as at the 800 block of Hill Street—all of whom had eaten together the prior day—were ill and vomiting, wrote AnnArbor.com.

The health department initiated an investigation, sending food histories and stool samples to a Michigan Department of Community Health lab, said AnnArbor.com. “We have confirmed it’s norovirus,” Cerniglia said, quoted AnnArbor.com, which noted that the cause is not yet known.

Norovirus, which can survive for weeks on surfaces at room temperature, can be difficult to eliminate, and can only be killed with chorine bleach. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers and other preparations are not too helpful. Norovirus outbreaks occur frequently in closed populations, such as on cruise ship and in nursing homes. Norovirus outbreaks are believed to result mainly from contamination of food by infected workers who don’t properly wash their hands after using the toilet.

Norovirus, a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis, are not helped with antibiotics. People become infected by eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with norovirus; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth; and having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms.

People may feel very sick and vomit many times a day. Sometimes people are unable to drink enough liquids to replenish the liquids lost due to vomiting and diarrhea and can become dehydrated and require special medical attention.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms also include “diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people the illness is self-limiting, with symptoms” lasting just one or days. Diarrhea tends to afflict children and vomiting is typically found in adults.

The CDC also pointed out that symptoms being within one to two days, but can also start presenting in 12 hours.

Noroviruses are extremely contagious, with stool and vomit being very infectious, said the CDC. People are contagious from when they feel ill to about three days after their symptoms subside; however, the virus can still be active in their vomit or stool for two weeks or more.

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