Portions of Davenport University’s student center, gymnasium, and a dormitory are closed for extensive cleaning after teenagers on campus for a cheerleading camp were affected by an outbreak of norovirus.
About 35-40 high school girls were affected by the outbreak, which began late Tuesday or early Wednesday. They suffered diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps, according to Kent County Health Department spokeswoman Lisa LaPlante, though none of the victims required medical treatment or hospitalization.
The girls were attending a cheerleading camp that began Tuesday, LaPlante says.
Davenport officials believe the virus was spread through hand-to-hand contact — likely when the girls were passing pom-poms. The health department has ruled out the likelihood of foodborne transmission.
It now appears a similar mode of transmission sickened 229 cheerleaders and cheeries at a Washington state competition.
JoNel Aleccia of msnbc cites Suzanne Pate, spokeswoman for the Snohomish Health District, as confirming Friday that norovirus was the cause, and the outbreak was likely precipitated by people who were ill in public.
"Somebody arrived at the event sick," said Pate, noting that janitorial crews were called to clean up vomit in a restroom and on an adjacent walkway. Those areas were likely exposure sites for the cheer and dance teams, she said.
Some 229 people were sickened and least 33 people sought medical attention for their illnesses, state health officials said late Friday. That number is expected to grow as the investigation continues.
A Comcast Arena spokeswoman said officials had sanitized the premises in accordance with federal health guidelines before a new event scheduled for Friday night. Tests of the arena’s water supply showed no problems, Pate said.
"It’s probably the best-scrubbed place in the county," she added.
Administrators said at least two girls at Fort Worth’s Saginaw High School received in-school suspensions and an unspecified number of their fellow cheerleaders received lesser punishments for serving sodas contaminated with a cheerleader’s urine to their teammates during a basketball game late last year, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Thursday.