175 sick with norovirus at Georgetown – but they’re getting Powerade

Todd A. Olson??????, vice president for student affairs at Georgetown University issued a statement this afternoon identifying norovirus as the cause of the recent gastrointestinal illnesses affecting Georgetown students and outlining a bunch of preventative measures. It was boring, and of course, didn’t say sorry for all the barfing.

However, the reporters at the Georgetown Voice offered a more entertaining presentation of the same information:

“Georgetown just sent out a message saying that the food poisoning is caused by the Norovirus, a contagious virus spread through oral and fecal contact. Georgetown is going to start a big cleaning regimen:

“Immediately, student residence halls are being cleaned with a specific focus on common areas and high contact surfaces such as bathrooms, doorknobs, and handrails. Common gathering areas including Yates Field House, McDonough Arena, the Leavey Center will also be cleaned, as well as bathrooms and high contact surfaces in academic and administrative buildings.

“It’s also spread by hand-to-hand contact. In June, a health inspection found that Leo’s had inadequate handwashing facilities for employees. According to the report, that problem was resolved. Georgetown says it’s going to continue normal operation, with a focus on cleaning. The message also encourages everyone to frequently wash their hands.

UPDATES: Todd Olson says the new number is 175 students. Only 3 in emergency room, 2 in student health center.
    Leo’s is open tonight.
    Any student who has missed class or assignment from being sick will be excused. Get in touch with your dean.
    Georgetown’s setting up a call center for parents. 1-800-208-5167. I guess it’s for calling to complain that your student is sick or could’ve been. For families with sick students: 202-444-3895
    Dr. Timpone is up saying everyone should wash their hands. Norovirus causes all kinds of miserable nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea.
    People whose roommates have the virus and got splashed with vomit can easily get sick. Clean up! Use bleach.
    Degioia’s here! Timpone says don’t be upset if you get sick, the disease will pass in a few days. Just stay hydrated.
    I’m kind of surprised DeGioia’s here, considering how awful students were treated last night at that Grill.
    Question and answer time! Olson says he’s not familiar with the possible Leo’s handwashing connection. No word on whether you get to skip midterms, talk to your dean.
    Someone from Solidarity is asking about employees getting sick, good point. Todd says he doesn’t think any workers got sick.
    Todd says we’re getting lot of Powerade and hand sanitizers!
    Students who have vomit damage in their room  should call work management at 202-687-3432. I guess they’ll help now, unlike yesterday.
    People who have already been infected won’t catch it again.

Telling people to wash their hands is standard. Georgetown students, are there adequate supplies in the bathrooms – soap, water and paper towels – and were there adequate supplies before the outbreak?

Ever notice someone sick and working at Leo’s? That’s how norovirus often spreads, especially through a bunch of foods from one spot.

There are some tips on the infosheet below. Norovirus outbreaks like this are far too common.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time