The North Central Health District (NCHD) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) are conducting a joint health investigation after Middle Georgia officials announced that samples taken from 127 Georgia College students after a gastrointestinal illness outbreak at the campus tested positive for norovirus.
Common symptoms for those who have the highly contagious norovirus include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Most people with the virus recover within one to three days.
Norovirus spreads through the fecal matter or vomit of a person with the virus, the NCHD said.
Others can get the norovirus through eating or drinking contaminated food/liquids, touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their mouth and having close contact with an infected person.
NCHD and DPH health officials have determined it’s safe for dining facilities at Georgia College to continue its normal business hours but will keep working with the college as the investigation continues.
“The Georgia Public Health Laboratory confirmed to Georgia College that the test results taken from students that fell ill on Wednesday, February 6 were the result of norovirus. This particular virus is highly contagious and affects the stomach and intestines,” Brittiny Johnson, director of public affairs at Georgia College told ABC/FOX-affiliate station WGXA.
“Please note that there is no evidence that any of the illnesses we have seen were the result of food contamination from any of our dining facilities. As we are in the midst of the cold and flu season, we encourage our entire campus community to read the above web link and learn more about how to prevent norovirus from spreading further,” Johnson added.
In order to prevent norovirus from spreading, NCHD advises people frequently wash their hands, wash their laundry, safely handle and prepare food and disinfect surfaces that are possibly contaminated.
Individuals who begin to feel sick should stay home and wait at least 48 hours after the symptoms go away before returning to their regular schedule, health officials said, adding that anyone with the norovirus shouldn’t handle or prepare food for anyone else and see a doctor if the symptoms are still present after three days.