GA Tech: Norovirus identified as cause of GI illness on campus

Georgia Tech officials have identified norovirus as the cause of a recent gastrointestinal illness outbreak on campus. 

Norovirus, or the stomach bug, began to spread after students returned to campus from fall break, according to school officials. According to the school, more than 136 patients visited Stamps Health Services between October 11 and October 24 with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and body aches. Some patients also reported having a fever. 

The Georgia Department of Health, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness and Emory University/Rollins School of Public Health assisted in the investigation. 

The stomach bug is highly contagious. Officials are urging students and staff to follow these safety precautions: 

  • Stay home if they are sick. Stay home until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours. Symptoms typically last 12 to 36 hours. 
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, whether they are sick or not. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water. Hand sanitizers do not work well against norovirus.
  • Do not share food, drinks, eating utensils, or drink containers.
  • Disinfect common surfaces with a bleach-based cleaning solution. Norovirus can live on hard surfaces, objects, and clothes and cause illness for days to weeks. Wash dirty laundry on longest wash cycle and machine dry.
  • If they are sick, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.
  • Properly wash and prepare food. 

So far, officials haven't been able to identify where norovirus originated on campus.