February 19. 2014
Beginning February 13, the Student Health Service has treated several students for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. By the end of Feb. 18, 57 students had been treated for those symptoms in the Student Health Center.
We have been in consultation with the Forsyth County Health Department; we have determined that these symptoms are being seen in other parts of the surrounding community as well as across campus. The cause of the outbreak is unknown, although the symptoms are consistent with a mild, self-limiting viral infection.
The symptoms associated with this outbreak have been mild and are not life threatening. They usually resolve in about 24 hours. The illness tends to respond with supportive medical measures (nausea medicine, fever medicine). Occasionally, affected students have required rehydration with intravenous fluids.
Students with these symptoms, especially if they are having trouble keeping down fluids, should seek medical care from the Student Health Service. For more information about what to eat or drink when ill with gastroenteritis, please see the Student Health Service web page at http://shs.wfu.edu/common/diet-instructions-for-gastro-illnesses/
All in the University community should practice “common sense” hygiene measures to prevent the spread of this illness such as frequent hand washing, avoiding sharing food, drinks, or other eating utensils, and minimizing contact with individuals who are having symptoms. Individuals who have symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) should wash their hands frequently with warm soapy water especially after using the toilet. They should avoid handling food that will be eaten by other people; and they should not work in restaurants and day care settings until their symptoms have completely resolved.
The Health Service will provide updated information concerning this outbreak as more information becomes available. In the meantime, please be assured that the University is taking all possible preventive measures and have coordinated our response with all necessary departments on campus to include food services and custodial operations.
Information about the norovirus illness and key facts may be obtained from the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/downloads/keyfacts.pdf.
Dr. Cecil D. Price, M.D.
Director, Student Health Service