Hope College in Michigan closed in light of Norovirous outbreak

Ottawa County Health Department officials closed Hope College on Friday after a four-day Norovirous outbreak that has left more than 400 staff and students sick.

“Earlier Sunday, the college said the number of reported cases of the flu-like illness causing vomiting and diarrhea for 24 to 48 hours climbed to 180, but many students felt those numbers self-reported to the health department are low.”

A Facebook page for the campus community called "Hope College: The Great Plague of 2008," was created by a freshman student to find out how many people have been affected by the sickness.  About a third of the campus community registered at the site, 14% of who said they are sick or had been.

Health officials strongly urged students to remain on campus, but not to congregate, to help stop the spread of infection.  However many students chose to leave campus once the closure was announced.  At the earliest, campus is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday.  During the closure, a campus cleaning crew will be sanitizing common surfaces.

Norovirous is highly contagious virus that is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the United States.

No specific treatment is available for Norovirus. In most healthy people, the illness usually is self-limiting and resolves in a few days.

The CDC recommends
frequent handwashing, especially after using the bathroom or before preparing food.  Contaminated surfaces and materials should be thoroughly disinfected.  Infected individual should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.