The University of Rochester has reported an outbreak of Norovirus that had infected up to 141 students as of Monday April 18. The news comes concurrent to an influx of viral and respiratory infections in Geneseo that has left the Lauderdale Center for Student Health and Counseling backed up with appointments until Monday April 25.
According to Lauderdale Medical Director Dr. Steve Radi, Norovirus is well known to doctors and public health professionals. Highly contagious, it is the same virus that causes large outbreaks on cruise ships and in hotels. The virus is spread when people are living and interacting within close proximity of one another—such as in campus dorms or dining halls—touching contaminated surfaces.
Norovirus began to spread on the University of Rochester’s campus at the beginning of April; 20 cases were reported as of April 9. It has infected over 120 students living on the River Campus or attending the Eastman School of Music since.
“[Norovirus is] no stranger to us,” Radi said. “It is easy to get on campus. We try to reinforce good hand washing—nothing is better than washing your hands with warm water and soap.”
Radi noted that the virus usually “makes people feel miserable” for 48 hours—but results in a relatively short recovery. “We always see it on campus; we have this year in small clusters—but not outbreaks,” he said.
Radi accredited the recent spark in sickness on campus to a late influenza peak, along with a variety of other factors including the cold weather—which lasted well into March and April. Traditionally, influenza experiences its greatest peak during the winter months of December, January and February, panning off in the spring. Radi reported approximately 11 cases of influenza to the Center for Disease Control last week.
“We are experiencing the busiest three weeks in April that I’ve ever seen,” Radi said. Radi has worked at the Lauderdale Center for 14 years. According to Radi, the first eight weeks of the spring semester are usually the busiest.
Radi recommended that students unable to find availability for a triage nursing appointment either call the center for medical advice or use the self-service stations located in Lauderdale’s main complex or its center in Onondaga Residence Hall.