UW students concerned about norovirus spread - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW students concerned about norovirus spread

MADISON (WKOW) -- University Health officials confirm three new cases of norovirus on campus. That brings the total number of students infected so far to 48.

Campus officials say they're still taking precautionary measures, including extensive cleaning, and reminding everyone to wash their hands. Students are concerned the norovirus could become more than a dorm problem.

"People were catching viruses and stuff and people were puking," said UW sophomore Tom Derginer. "[I'm] staying away from Sellery Hall. Other than that -- just trying to stay healthy."

"I know for a fact people who have the virus are still going to class, which means they're spreading it to others," said UW junior Aryel Miller. "I'm just scared that I'm going to get it."

Health services says the UW greek system has requested information to help fraternities and sororities prevent the disease, which resembles a bad case of the stomach flu.

Dozens got sick at one sorority house -- but these are not confirmed norovirus cases.

And we may never know exactly how big this outbreak is -- health care providers are not required to track or report norovirus cases.

"The doctor might not even use that word when talking to the patient -- norovirus -- because they don't know for sure if they haven't done a stool sample," said Amanda Kita-Yarbro, Dane County epidemiologist. "Even if it was diagnosed it probably wouldn't be reported."

Norovirus outbreaks have hit several schools around the country recently. Hope College in Holland, Michigan canceled all classes and activities for six days when 400 people got sick. A spokesperson says there are no plans to close the UW campus, given the smaller scope of the outbreak.

"That's a relatively small number when you consider the number of students on campus as well as the number of students in the dorm," said Dr. Sarah Van Orman, Executive Director of University Health Services.

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