Health officials: Stomach illness at Georgia College tests positive as norovirus


    Georgia College/WGXA

    MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- Middle Georgia health officials said Tuesday that samples taken from students after a gastrointestinal illness outbreak at Georgia College tested positive for norovirus.

    The North Central Health District (NCHD) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) are reportedly working together on the health investigation. Health officials said there are 127 reported cases.

    Related content: Over 120 reported cases of stomach illness at Georgia College

    Patients with the highly contagious norovirus reportedly suffer from vomiting and diarrhea and most people recover within one to three days, health officials said. Other symptoms of norovirus include stomach cramps and nausea.

    The NCHD said norovirus spreads through the fecal matter or vomit of an infected person, and added that others can get the virus through:

    • Eating/drinking contaminated food/liquids
    • Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth
    • Having close contact with an infected person

    Related content: Campus dining reopens at Georgia College following stomach illnesses

    Public health officials said they've determined it's safe for Georgia College's dining facilities to stay open but will keep working with the school as their investigation continues.

    WGXA reached out to Georgia College's director of public affairs Brittiny Johnson, who sent this:

    The Georgia Public Health Laboratory confirmed to Georgia College that the test results taken from students that fell ill on Wednesday, February 6 were the result of norovirus. This particular virus is highly contagious and affects the stomach and intestines. Our local health authorities summarized their investigation and published their findings online.
    Please note that there is no evidence that any of the illnesses we have seen were the result of food contamination from any of our dining facilities. As we are in the midst of the cold and flu season, we encourage our entire campus community to read the above web link and learn more about how to prevent norovirus from spreading further.

    The NCHD said people can keep norovirus from spreading by washing their hands, washing their laundry, handling and preparing food safely and disinfecting potentially contaminated surfaces.

    People who are sick should stay home and wait at least 48 hours after the symptoms disappear before going back to their regular schedule. Health officials also said anyone with the norovirus shouldn't handle or prepare for for anyone else and go to their doctor if the symptoms don't go away within three days.

    Find out more information about norovirus.

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