Norovirus on campus

For several weeks, media reports across the nation have reported an increase in illnesses caused by Norovirus infections. This week, multiple students at Binghamton University have developed nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and several students have tested positive for Norovirus. After a careful investigation, no link between ill students and any food on campus has been found. It is likely that students with similar symptoms are also suffering from Norovirus infection.

Norovirus is a viral infection which commonly causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. On occasion, it can also lead to fever, headache, and body aches.  

Norovirus is usually contracted by getting the virus on your hands and then spreading it to your mouth. Therefore, good hand hygiene is crucial to avoiding this illness. You are most infectious while you are having symptoms and for the first two days of recovery. However, studies show you may remain mildly infectious for up to two weeks after you recover.  

Treatment is supportive. Since this is a viral illness, antibiotics have no role in treating the infection. Students with symptoms should focus on small, frequent sips of fluids and the use of anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medications, such as Pepto-Bismol. Water is the preferred fluid, but sports drinks or oral rehydration solutions can be used if desired.  

  • Students should seek medical care if they experience:
  • Dehydration (urinating < 4 times per day, dizziness when standing, severely dry mouth/throat)
  • Severe symptoms (severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, unable to keep fluids down)
  • Symptoms lasting longer than 7 days

Lessen your risk for this infection by following this advice:

  1. Increase your hand hygiene. HAND SANITIZER DOES NOT WORK WELL AGAINST NOROVIRUS! Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds on a regular basis. This is especially important:
    • After using the toilet
    • Before eating
    • Before preparing or handling food
    • After being in contact with people who are sick
  2. Frequently disinfect high-touch areas like countertops, doorknobs, cell phones and computer keyboards.
  3. Don’t share utensils, cups, food, toothbrushes, clothing, towels or other personal items.
  4. Limit how often you touch your face, eyes, mouth and nose.
  5. Stay home if you are having symptoms of Norovirus infection.  

As always, the Decker Student Health Services Center is available to evaluate and treat students who are ill.  Use the “Appointments” tab on our patient portal to make your appointment.