The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Panhellenic Council has postponed sorority recruitment due to an outbreak of norovirus-like symptoms for a “significant section of the Greek community,” according to an email sent to students Thursday.
“Please go to Campus Health immediately if you are showing any symptoms,” the Panhellenic Council said in an email.
In Australia as we welcomed the first day of spring, hundreds of people have been struck down by gastroenteritis with New South Wales Health urging affected people to stay home and follow medical advice.
There were 39 gastro outbreaks in NSW institutions between August 20 and 26, including 22 in childcare centres, 10 in aged-care homes, five in hospitals and two in schools.
NSW Health said at least 348 people were affected by the bug in these outbreaks, which is more than double the previous five-year weekly average number of outbreaks for August.
And the bug finally has a name.
Director Communicable Diseases, NSW Health, Vicky Sheppeard said it appeared the outbreaks were caused by viral gastroenteritis including rotavirus and norovirus which spread easily.
“If your work involves handling food or looking after children, the elderly or patients, do not return to work until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.
“The best defence against gastroenteritis is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 10 seconds before handling and eating food, and after using the toilet, changing nappies or assisting someone who has diarrhoea or vomiting.”
Winter has been a bad season for gastro in Australia; 1900 people attended NSW emergency departments with the bug in early August.
Brisbane has also been affected by an outbreak, with 51 childcare centres hit in the eight weeks to August 14.
NSW Health said all children should receive the rotavirus vaccine for free as part of the National Immunisation Program.
These figure come after NSW Health data showed there were 35,670 confirmed flu cases in NSW last month, making it the worst month on record for flu cases in NSW.
University students’ hand hygiene practice during a gastrointestinal outbreak in residence: What they say they do and what they actually do
Journal of Environmental Health Sept. issue 72(2): 24-28
Brae V. Surgeoner, MS, Benjamin J. Chapman, PhD, and Douglas A. Powell, PhD
Published research on outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness has focused primarily on the results of epidemiological and clinical data collected postoutbreak; little research has been done on actual preventative practices during an outbreak.
In this study, the authors observed student compliance with hand hygiene recommendations at the height of a suspected norovirus outbreak in a university residence in Ontario, Canada. Data on observed practices was compared to post-outbreak self-report surveys administered to students to examine their beliefs and perceptions about hand hygiene. Observed compliance with prescribed hand hygiene recommendations occurred 17.4% of the time.
Despite knowledge of hand hygiene protocols and low compliance, 83.0% of students indicated that they practiced correct hand hygiene during the outbreak. To proactively prepare for future outbreaks, a current and thorough crisis communications and management strategy, targeted at a university student audience and supplemented with proper hand washing tools, should be enacted by residence administration.