A spokesperson for Western Connecticut State University, Paul Stienmetz confirms to News 8 that it was the norovirus that caused the widespread illness. On Friday, about 40 students had vomiting and diarrhea. That number climbed to more than 100 students by Monday.
On Monday afternoon, University President John B. Clark announced that common areas on both the Westside and Midtown campuses have been cleaned to standards set by the Centers for Disease Control. Norovirus was identified as the source of the illness that sickened more than 100 students. The university’s response and recovery protocols have allowed normal operations to resume as of Tuesday.
Officials urged students to seek medical help if they had symptoms.
School health officials are working with the state and Danbury Departments of Health to figure out what strain of the norovirus it is and how to slow it down.
The school’s president, Dr. John Clark, put out a reminder to students to use good hygiene, not to share food, wash fruits and vegetables before eating them and clean by using bleach.
The following is a statement from the State Department of Public Health on the recent outbreak:
“DPH’s Epidemiology and Food Protection Programs, along with the State Laboratory, are coordinating with officials at WCSU, the Danbury Health Department and Danbury Hospital to investigate an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness at WCSU that has now been confirmed through laboratory tests to be Norovirus. The illnesses were first reported on Friday afternoon, but some of the
ill patients became sick as early as Tuesday, April 17th. We have advised WCSU on proper cleaning procedures for Norovirus and will continue to investigate and coordinate with officials in Danbury and at WCSU. In order to avoid becoming ill with Norovirus or spreading the virus, students and staff should practice frequent handwashing with soap and water. They should also avoid preparing food for
others, working in a day care center, health care facility or food service establishment if having gastrointestinal symptoms – vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, low grade fever – and seek medical attention if those symptoms become severe.”