Symptoms of (Norovirus) Norwalk Virus Outbreak in Canadian University

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Mount Allison University is hit by symptoms of Norovirus, sometimes called Norwalk flu virus, making many students sick and forcing to cancel extracurricular weekend activities.

Mount Allison University in N.B. reports that due to a recent outbreak of gastroenteritis (sometimes also called stomach flu), it has been asked by the New Brunswick Department of Health to cancel all classes and extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. The dining hall, all academic buildings and residences, and the library will remain open. The athletics center, the fitness center, and all other public buildings, including the Owens, are closed at present time. The university has suspended access to the facility by community groups or organizations.

A number of students have been affected by what is believed to be a Norwalk-type virus (presently called Norovirus), but test results are still pending. The symptoms of norovirus illness usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally 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 for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults. Most people with Norovirus illness have both of these symptoms.

"Yesterday we began to receive word that a number of our Mount Allison students were experiencing stomach-flu symptoms. Some of these students were treated at the Sackville Memorial Hospital yesterday and others are recuperating in their residence and off-campus rooms. We are working to help students receive medical care.

"As soon as the university learned of this situation, the Department of Public Health was asked to come to campus, which they did yesterday. We are continuing to care for students, providing as much information as we can to them and to their parents - about how to prevent further spread of the stomach-flu like symptoms.

"The control measures we are instituting will aid in reducing the number of new cases and limiting the spread of the symptoms on our campus and through the community. Thank you for your co-operation," reads the message on university website.

There continue to be new cases of students who have presented with flu-like symptoms.

"We are hoping that the numbers are diminishing, but we are taking special precautions by putting health sanitizer gels in public places. We canceled classes on Friday and all extra curricular activities and events this weekend, so we don't have large groups of people together. This is done because of the belief that the flu-like disease is transmitted person to person," Sheila Blagrave, the Director of Marketing and Communications from the University told eMaxHealth on the phone.

As extra measures to help prevent further transmission of germs, we have a volunteer staff of custodians working in the bathrooms, the library, residences, and the dining hall to sanitize doorknobs, computer keys, and all other surfaces. We have also placed sanitation pumps in all bathrooms and common areas.

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Because some students are suffering from dehydration, the university has set up a rehydration station. Visit the University website for further details and update on the virus at www.mta.ca

Facts about the Norovirus from CDC

When do symptoms appear?

Symptoms of norovirus illness usually begin about 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but they can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.

Are noroviruses contagious?

Noroviruses are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. Both stool and vomit are infectious. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers who may have diarrhea.

How long are people contagious?

People infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as 2 weeks after recovery. Therefore, it is particularly important for people to use good handwashing and other hygienic practices after they have recently recovered from norovirus illness.

Who gets norovirus infection?

Anyone can become infected with these viruses. There are many different strains of norovirus, which makes it difficult for a person

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