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An outbreak of norovirus, a highly contagious form of food poisoning also known as stomach flu, has spread across the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, infecting an estimated 150 students so far.
The source of the outbreak, which began last Friday, has not yet been identified. Norovirus can be spread easily from person to person, and symptoms of the illness include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. The disease can be spread through contact with an infected person, or contaminated food or surfaces.
In a statement, the university’s chief health officer, Dr. Robert Winfield, said the number of known cases only reflects those who sought treatment from the school’s medical staff, and that the number of infected students may be much higher. “We believe that this number does not reflect the actual extent of the illness, as students are generally following our advice to self-isolate in their rooms,” Dr. Winfield said.
The university will continue to monitor the outbreak to determine its source, and will be using a special virus-specific cleaning procedure across all dining halls and residence halls.