Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Health officials investigating suspected norovirus outbreak at sorority house

The Washtenaw County Health Department continues to investigate a possible outbreak of norovirus among residents of an off-campus sorority house.

As many as three dozen members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority became will with nausea and vomiting Saturday night. Six of the women were treated and released from the U-M Health System.

There have been no cases of the gastrointestinal illness reported among students living in U-M residence halls.

Dr. Robert Ernst, medical director of University Health Service, says all of the students who became ill are recovering and the sorority house has been thoroughly cleaned. The illness typically lasts two to three days. He advises that all students who get sick to isolate themselves so they do not make others sick, and that they drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention norovirus is highly contagious and can easily spread from person to person. Both stool and vomit are contagious.

The CDC says those who get ill should wash their hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom and before meals.

County health officials are being assisted by sanitarians from the U-M Office of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health in seeking a cause for the outbreak.