200 Pennsylvania college students were sickened by norovirus

Norovirus has been confirmed as the cause of a stomach illness that sickened more than 200 students at a Pennsylvania college last week, school officials said Monday.

Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pa., said the Montgomery County Health Department confirmed cases of norovirus, a contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis or inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Classes resumed Monday after being canceled Thursday afternoon and Friday. Events during the weekend also were canceled.

Officials say there had been a significant decrease in the number of students reporting symptoms since the first batch came in Tuesday morning. Twenty-two students were treated at hospitals last week, but none was admitted.

The school's dining hall was closed after students began complaining of vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain Tuesday night, but it reopened after an inspection.

"Aggressive cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting efforts will continue throughout the week with the help of additional custodial staff," the school said in a statement.

Ursinus spokeswoman Esme Artz said an internal count showed 214 students, faculty and staff having reported symptoms through Sunday evening, which totals almost 13 percent of the current enrollment of 1,650. She said additional reports continue to trickle in.

Officials urged anyone with symptoms to contact the school's wellness center and said those who have been ill should take steps to stem the spread of the virus by practicing good hygiene, avoiding unaffected people for a few days and cleaning clothes, linens and contaminated surfaces.



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