University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh deals with norovirus

Published: Feb. 8, 2018 at 5:57 AM CST
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More than 40 students at UW-Oshkosh fall ill with the norovirus, the highly contagious stomach bug. The university sent a campus-wide email on Wednesday with instructions about how to prevent its spread.

It's not uncommon for UWO's health center to see a few cases of norovirus among students this time of year.

But after receiving not one but two calls from parents reporting multiple students in their child's residence halls were ill did campus officials realize they had an outbreak on their hands.

"That's what really prompted us to reach out to public health and to implement a surveillance and communication to the campus," said Pamela Macwilliams, Director of Health Services.

According to campus officials, about 40 students in South Scott Hall have reported norovirus symptoms, the most of any dorm on campus. Campus officials added at least one case has been reported in 75% of the residence halls. University officials are asking students who are sick to quarantine themselves.

According to Macwilliams, "If you have symptoms and you are vomiting or you have diarrhea, it's pertinent that you stay home and don't go to class and don't go to the library and do not go to work."

Sophie Salzer is one of the students who came down with the illness earlier this week. She says, "I couldn't really eat anything and my stomach hurts a little bit, my body is kind of sore but I'm feeling a lot better."

The university has the custodial staff working to disinfect all buildings on campus. And, students say they doing their part to stay healthy too.

Freshman Ryan Pistohl says, "I'm kind of just staying low from people, just making sure as long as my roommate doesn't have it, that I'm at least in the clear."

"I'm really paranoid. I've been keeping my door shut, not really associating with everyone right now," adds sophomore Victoria Schubert.

Pamela Macwilliams adds, "Hand washing is key to prevent the spread of norovirus and so we're sharing that communication on our campus that prior to eating, after eating, after using the restroom you wash your hands with soap and water."