OXFORD, Ohio — Cases of the highly contagious norovirus have been cropping up across Miami University’s Oxford campus in Butler County, enough cases to make more than 200 students sick in recent weeks.
Freshman Brittany Hallberg said she just recovered after contracting the virus, which attacks one’s gastrointestinal system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hallberg said she was just one of nearly a dozen students to come down with the disease in her residence hall alone.
“Everyone had it, all of our RA’s had it,” Hallberg told WCPO.
It got so bad, Hallberg said, her roommate stayed in a hotel to reduce risk of infection.
The CDC lists diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain among the virus’ most common symptoms.
Cindy Traficant, with the Miami Student Health Center, said, “Norovirus is definitely not a pleasant experience for anyone who happens to get it. You’ll feel pretty miserable for 24-36 hours.”
What makes norovirus tricky to fight is that it is very difficult to kill. It can survive on a hard surface for days or longer, adding to its high level of contagiousness.
With approximately 17,000 students on campus, Traficant said, “It’s a giant petri dish community, very close quarters.”
University officials have distributed emails and posters across campus warning students to be diligent in hand washing and other hygienic practices.
And cleaning. The university’s custodial staff has been ramping up their cleaning efforts throughout the campus, as well as handing out hand sanitizer and disinfectant.
Reuters reported that the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor also has seen more than 100 recent cases of the virus.