Norovirus identified as potential cause of illnesses at Liberty University

Members of the LU community are being asked to complete a survey

LYNCHBURG, Va.UPDATE

Liberty University officials said hundreds of students are recovering from a gastrointestinal illness, potentially norovirus.

On Friday, 560 students were sick. That number fell to 203 on Sunday and by Monday down to 176.

70 of those students have visited the on-campus health center.

“They should be on the lookout for symptoms and that would be nausea vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and if they notice any of that they should stay home certainly, do extra hand washing, not prepare food,” said VDH Southwest Regional Epidemiologist, Paige Bordwine.

Doctors said most people will get over this kind of stomach bug in 24 to 48 hours without major problems. But if not, you should seek medical attention.

“If your fever goes beyond 48 hours. If you start vomiting blood. Or you start having blood in the stools. If you have unusual abdominal pain,” said LewisGale Medical Center’s Director of Infectious Disease, Dr. Muddasar Chaudry.


UPDATE

Liberty University officials said preliminary testing has shown norovirus as the potential cause of the recent outbreak of gastrointestinal illness at the university.

The Virginia Department of Health inspected campus dining services twice within the last week, and officials said there were no issues found with any dining services on campus.

Members of the Liberty University community, including on-campus, commuter, and faculty/staff, are being asked to complete a survey here.

In addition to the survey, the Department of Health is asking anyone experiencing GI symptoms to submit a stool sample when they reopen. The Student Health Center has sample kits available, and is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Liberty University shared a few tips to help protect the community:

  • Wash hands with soap and water (hand sanitizers have proven less effective against killing the virus)
  • Clean all surfaces using products that say virucidal
  • If you have recently been sick replace your toothbrush

For more information about what to do if you are experiencing symptoms, click here.


ORIGINAL STORY

An investigation is underway after an increased number of gastrointestinal illnesses on Liberty University’s campus, the university announced Friday in a joint press release with the Virginia Department of Health.

Liberty University is asking members of the community to take preventative measures such as handwashing, sanitizing, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects. The community is also asked to avoid close contact with those who have symptoms.

“Our priority is to keep each member of our LU community healthy and safe,” the university said. “We ask that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please isolate in your residence.”

Officials said at this time, the Virginia Department of Health has not identified any issues with dining services at the university, and is not recommending the closure of any dining facilities.

If you’re experiencing any gastrointestinal symptoms, you should:

  • Please maintain hydration. Drink substances like Gatorade, Pedialyte or water.
  • If symptoms worsen, please seek care at either Student Health Center Monday-Thursday 8-6 pm and Friday 8-5 p.m., Walk-in Care Wards Road 8-5 p.m. 7 days a week, or after hours at the Emergency Room.
  • Please call 911 or (434) 592-3911 if you are needing emergency care.

About the Authors

Lauren Helkowski joined WSLS 10’s digital team in August 2022, but has held a passion for storytelling long before.

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.

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