Health officials are still trying to determine the cause of a gastrointestinal illness that struck more than 120 UGA students and some faculty and staff over the past few weeks.
Since initial test results for bacterial intestinal pathogens have turned up negative, health officials have turned their attention to viruses. While the causative agent has not yet been identified-and still may not be for several more weeks-the suspected culprit is Norwalk or norovirus (a closely related virus to Norwalk). While this is by no means a diagnosis, UGA Environmental Safety in cooperation with the UGA Health Center and the Georgia Public Health Division have approached this matter based upon what they know so far.
This type of gastrointestinal illness can be spread in a variety of ways: by food or water, as well as by simple contact with surfaces such as tabletops. It can also be transmitted from person to person. Since there is no significant evidence in this situation to suggest a foodborne or waterborne link, the primary focus is on the environment and personal hygiene. As a precaution against contracting the virus, officials recommend washing hands and disinfecting surfaces such as floors, counters and appliances as well as restrooms.