Georgetown Dining Hall Students Slammed With Stomach Illness

Georgetown Food and Stomach Illness
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Georgetown University students were slammed with a stomach illness that drove nearly 100 students to local hospitals for treatment of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. All of the students were treated, some with IV fluids, and released. The students had eaten at the dining hall, known as Leo’s on Tuesday and began appearing at Georgetown University Hospital throughout the night. After doctors alerted campus officials, the Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall was shut down.

D.C. Department of Health officials are investigating the cause of the acute gastroenteritis at the Georgetown Dining Hall and no cause has yet been identified. It is most likely a virus or bacterial food poisoning that caused the symptoms. Public Health officials are collecting food samples and the preparation of meals and the sources of food. Many of the students had eaten a “Hoya Wrap” which is a pre-made, to-go meal with chicken and sauce in a tortilla but other students ate different food.

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University officials notified students about the dining hall closure and the illness via email and some mid-term exams have been postponed. This was not unwelcome news to many students.

“We take food safety and their safety very, very seriously”, said Dr. Todd Olson, VP of student affairs at Georgetown U. “We are working collaboratively with our partners in campus dining and are confident that we are providing safe and appropriate food service for them.”

Officials will likely have an answer by 48 hours, as that is how long it takes for stool cultures to identify bacteria. E coli, staph aureus, salmonella and campylobacter are the cause of the most common bacterial food poisonings, with symptoms starting within 2-6 hours of eating. Norwalk virus is the most common viral cause with those symptoms starting after 12 hours up to 4 days. Most acute food poisoning runs its course within 24-48 hours and hydration is the most important treatment.

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