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Important Information about Norovirus

January 29, 2019
To: 
All Students
From: 
Christopher P. Holstege, Executive Director of Student Health

Dear Students:

This message is to inform you that cases of norovirus have been confirmed in the UVA student population. Because norovirus is highly contagious, the Department of Student Health & Wellness is sending you additional information about the virus, how to help avoid acquiring norovirus, and guidance if you become ill.

Norovirus causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and/or stomach pain, as well as a potential for fever, headache, and body aches. If you have norovirus, you can feel extremely ill and experience vomiting and diarrhea multiple times a day. The virus can be spread by:

  • Eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus,
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus then putting your fingers in your mouth, or
  • Having direct contact with someone who is infected with norovirus, such as by caring for them or sharing food or utensils with them.

Symptoms usually occur 12-24 hours after exposure. Norovirus is most contagious from the onset of symptoms to a couple of days after recovering from the virus, but the virus can continue to be spread for two weeks or more after those with the virus are feeling better.

Given that students with norovirus will be isolated for many days and will be unable to participate in University activities during their period of contagion, we want to help you protect yourself from the virus. The best protection against norovirus is:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water, particularly prior to eating. Hand sanitizer is NOT a substitute for washing hands as it does not remove norovirus particles.
  • Avoid others who may be sick with the virus.
  • Avoid sharing anything that has come into contact with saliva, whether in your living or social environments.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

These strategies are a good idea at any time, but especially now during the start of flu season and with the possibility of additional norovirus cases.

If you have symptoms suggesting norovirus, we strongly recommend that you stay home and contact Student Health General Medicine at 434-982-3915 to determine the best steps to take. If you call Student Health at this number on the weekend or after regular business hours, an on-call clinician is available for consultation.

For more information about norovirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Sincerely,

Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Executive Director
Department of Student Health & Wellness