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Norovirus outbreaks forces Connecticut university to close Monday

DANBURY, Conn. — A university in Connecticut was closed on Monday after norovirus sickened about 100 students.

It started late last week when a few dozen students at Western Connecticut State University became sick. They all had symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea and the illness quickly spread, the university said in a post on its official Facebook page.

Over the weekend, the university posted numerous updates, which at first did not reveal the source of the illness. The sicknesses were described as a “viral outbreak.”

The school sanitized its camp common areas over the weekend and closed both campuses on Monday. All classes and activities will resume on Tuesday.

Laboratory tests determined the outbreak was caused by norovirus, the leading cause of illness and outbreaks in the U.S., the Connecticut State Department of Public Health said. Norovirus is typically spread by eating contaminated food.

“We have advised WCSU on proper cleaning procedures for Norovirus and will continue to investigate and coordinate with officials in Danbury and at WCSU,” the department said.

“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.”

Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread quickly in enclosed spaces, like day care centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Western Connecticut State University asks anyone who was sickened to stay home for 72 hours after the last symptoms of vomitin and diarrhea have subsided.