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An Important Message to the Rutgers-Newark Community About Norovirus

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Sandra Samuels, M.D., director Rutgers University Health Services in Newark, has brought important information about the NOROVIRUS infection to the attention of the Rutgers-Newark Community.

ABOUT THE VIRUS

Outbreaks of NOROVIRUS infection have been reported recently at two New Jersey universities – Princeton and Rider. No cases have been detected at Rutgers in Newark.

Remember, this infection is highly contagious in environments where people live in close proximity, such a cruise ships or dormitories or child care centers.

Symptoms are gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, vomiting, sometimes leading to dehydration, and also possibly fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and general malaise. Symptoms last usually 1 – 3 days.

The main treatment is prevention of dehydration through fluid replacement.  Antibiotics are of no use, since it is a viral infection.

PRECAUTIONS TO REDUCE RISK OF INFECTION

The following precautions are recommended to REDUCE RISK of contracting the infection:

  • Fastidious Hygiene: Frequent hand-washing (vigorously, with soap and warm water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer), especially after toilet visits, before eating or preparing food.
  • Careful washing of fruits and vegetables, and thorough cooking of shellfish (the virus is killed above 60ºC /140ºF; freezing does not kill it.
  • Keeping surfaces clean:  toilets, sinks, desks, shared equipment such as telephones or computers, doorknobs, by use of antibacterial/antiviral spray or wipe such as Lysol. Thorough cleaning and disinfecting of contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Immediate removal of and washing of cothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
  • Flushing or discard of any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet (with the lid down) and making sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
  • Persons who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness. If possible, they should be isolated in a separate room until acute illness has passed.
  • Food that may have been contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of properly.

For additional information regarding Norovirus, please refer to the CDC website:   http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Norovirus/

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

If you have symptoms, or questions regarding Norovirus, please contact Rutgers University Health services, and staff will address your concerns or health needs: 973 353 5232.

If you would like to purchase replacement fluid, the Newark Pharmacy, located on premises can provide them to you: 973 353 5201.

If you have questions after office hours call our nurse answering line, 1–866 –221 –9674, or if you are acutely ill, please go to your nearest hospital emergency room.