Norovirus caused outbreak at Humber College: Public health


Toronto paramedics responded to calls from a Humber College dorm on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. An estimated 30 students were taken to hospital. (Photo: Eugenio Garro/QEW South Post)


Norovirus caused an illness affecting more than 200 people at Humber College, Toronto Public Health confirmed Monday.
The outbreak began Jan. 19, when 30 students were taken to hospital.

The majority of students who have been ill “have reported that they are now feeling better,” reads a statement from the college.
“This is consistent with norovirus infection, which tends to last for one to three days. Students and staff are advised not to return to campus until they have been symptom- free for 48 hours.”
Also referred to as Norwalk virus, the highly contagious infection typically causes vomiting and diarrhea each winter.
It’s spread through direct contact, eating or drinking contaminated items, and can also be airborne, according to TPH.

The north campus – where more than 18,000 full-time students are enrolled – remains open as TPH is continuing with further lab testing using samples from more sick students.
Common areas and high-touch surfaces, such as bathrooms and food establishments, are being “rigorously” cleaned and disinfected, reads the statement, while salad bars and other buffet-style service has been halted.
All open food from last week which isn’t sealed or packaged is being tossed.
Staff and students on campus are reminded to wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer.
Flu shots don’t protect against Norovirus, says TPH, and there’s currently no vaccine available in Canada.

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