Stomach virus woes pile on at FDU-Florham

The Spawn

Better Than You
Aug 10, 2002
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Stomach virus woes pile on at FDU-Florham

Associated Press Writer

March 8, 2007, 3:07 PM EST

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea _ it's not a pleasant situation for anyone, especially in the cramped quarters of a college campus.

It was a scene Fairleigh Dickinson University's Florham Park campus was still dealing with Thursday as a norovirus outbreak continued to sicken as many as 267 students and staff _ 20 of them within the past two days.

Despite the recent reports, university officials were hopeful the outbreak had crested and would be over for good once students left for spring break, which starts this Saturday.

"We're not happy, but thank God it's not a thousand people we're dealing with. That would be terrible," university spokesman Art Petrosemolo said of the outbreak, which had mostly affected students.

Norovirus can affect large numbers of people who use common areas. Outbreaks have happened on cruise ships, hotels, prisons and nursing homes. About 1,500 of the 2,000 students enrolled at FDU-Florham Park live in dormitories at the school, Petrosemolo said.

Symptoms of the virus _ nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping _ usually abate in one or two days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

By Thursday, campus officials were telling students with new cases to simply go home early, with class instructors making arrangements for such students to either take a midterm exam home with them, or take it when they got back, said Petrosemolo.

Meanwhile, public areas such as the cafeteria, student center, freshman dormitory bathrooms and classrooms were being disinfected three times a day. And the recreation center swimming pool was closed for the week.

Students were also being urged to slather on lots of hand sanitizer.

By Thursday, 28 students, including five the day before, had been treated for dehydration at Morristown Memorial Hospital, Petrosemolo said.

With the season for stomach viruses in full force, there were outbreaks throughout the northern area of the state, said Florham Park's health officer George Van Orden.

About a mile away at The College of St. Elizabeth, a Roman Catholic school in Morristown, it was spring break week but the vice president for student life still sent students an e-mail with information about the virus, officials said.

Van Orden said he thought the outbreak had reached it's peak March 2, and was trailing off around campus. But with college students getting ready to leave Florham Park for spring break, Van Orden said they were sure to be bringing home more than textbooks and dirty laundry.

"They'll probably start clusters of the virus back at home," he said.

The whole virus thing sucks and all, but I'm more focused on the take home midterm exam...isn't that basically open book?
That's like 30 minutes from me.

Fairleigh Dickenson University otherwise known as Fairly Ridiculious University. :D

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