Campus plagued by stomach virus

Cooper Josephs, Staff Writer

A contagious stomach virus causing abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting has spread throughout the University in the past several weeks. The stomach “bug” is caused by the norovirus.

“The symptoms started presenting on campus around two weeks ago,” said Catherine O’Neil, the lead physician at the Ziegler Health Center.

Other symptoms linked to the virus include lightheadedness or dizziness, diarrhea, fever, and headache.

O’Neil said that an annual rise in the number of those affected with the illness is common, often starting in November and ending in April. Students from several other schools in the region, including the University of Pittsburgh and Kutztown University have experienced similar cases as well.

“It was a pretty quick in-and-out illness. I started feeling sick on Sunday, and then I started feeling healthy probably 24 hours later. The biggest thing was I couldn’t really stomach anything for about 48 hours. I lost about six pounds before I started eating and drinking again,” Sam Wiley ’16 said.

“It took about two to three days to get back to feeling fully normal,” Will Stockwell ’16 said.

The bug seemed to hit certain fraternities on campus more than others.

“We call it the plague here. The night I had it, six other brothers had it at the same time. Nobody knows who patient zero is. In total, about 20 brothers have had it. It comes in hard and ruins you for just a day,” Phi Kappa Psi fraternity member Tim Perley ’15 said.

Last week, about 30 people were treated at the health center for the illness. That number does not accurately reflect the total number of people on campus who have had the illness. If the pattern holds as it has in previous years, the number of people affected by the illness will start to decrease soon.

“We should see the amount of people who have the sickness to steadily decline as the month progresses,” O’Neil said.

Preventive measures include washing your hands and refraining from sharing food and drinks. Those who have had the illness are carriers for two weeks after symptoms subside.

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