Is there a link between norovirus at Georgetown and USC?

As the number of norovirus illnesses reached 330 at the University of Southern California and 212 at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the Georgetown Voice reports both schools serve meals prepared by the Organic-to-Go food distributor, although Georgetown officials do not believe there is a connection. (Note: a PR person from Organic-to-Go says USC stopped serving what she calls grab-and-go food from Organic-to-Go in Aug. 2008 — dp)

Georgetown officials were also cited as saying today that:

* Georgetown cleaning crews and temporary contract crews have been working through the weekend to keep public areas clean.  Thousands of wipes and sixty hand sanitizer stations have been placed around campus.

* DC Department of Public Health is conducting an epidemiological study to determine the cause of the outbreak.  The results of the study should be released in the next few days.  Food samples from Leo’s have been tested.  The cause of the outbreak is still unknown, but the study should provide some insight.

* The University does not know when Leo’s employees will stop serving all food to students, but there are no plans to continue this practice indefinitely.

At USC, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed norovirus was the source of the USC outbreak. Officials said restrooms and common areas of residence halls have been thoroughly cleaned in response to the outbreak and USC officials have provided sanitation measures to university-owned housing and fraternity and sorority row.

Here’s an old infosheet on norovirus, in Spanish.