To the Oregon State Corvallis campus community,
Over the past few days, approximately 70-80 students on the Oregon State University Corvallis campus have reported “stomach flu”-like symptoms. Laboratory tests now confirm this illness to be a case of norovirus.
Students have reported being ill with vomiting, diarrhea and fever at the Corvallis campus. This virus is highly contagious and can affect all members of the campus community, requiring vigilance on the part of everyone to contain transmission and spread by following preventive measure.
In an effort to minimize continued spread, various departments have increased custodial services, including the residence halls, dining centers, Student Health Services, Valley Library, Dixon Recreation and the Memorial Union. This work involves deep cleaning of all touchpoints such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, entryways, and tables.
Benton County Health Department officials have been consulting with OSU health officials since students began reporting symptoms on Wednesday of last week. At this point, county health officials believe that there is no clear indication of a specific food source or location that may be responsible for these infections. A variety of individual transmission routes likely are responsible. These include person-to-person contact or person-to-object-to-person transmission through shared living spaces, food utensils, cups—even cell phones—among other items.
While contagious gastroenteritis illnesses are common in campus environments and frequently are transmitted on campus shortly after breaks as students return from their travels, we feel it important to share information about this illness and preventive hygiene steps that everyone should follow.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Hand sanitizers do not work on Norovirus.
- Do not share utensils, water bottles, drinking cups, cell phones or prepare any food for friends.
- Do not clean up infected body fluids yourself. Call for professional help. Students and staff in the residence halls and dining centers should call 541-737-2032 during the day, and contact a resident assistant after hours. Faculty, staff and students in academic buildings should call 541-737-2157.
- If ill, please continue to isolate yourself for 72 hours after last vomiting and diarrhea symptoms; the virus continues to be contagious after symptoms have resolved. This measure is essential in stopping the spread of this virus.
- If you work in the food service industry on or off campus, make arrangements to be off work for the appropriate amount of time.
The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority. We continue to closely monitor the situation and are meeting regularly with Benton County Health Department and campus stakeholders.
If you or a student you are supporting need assistance, call the Student Health Nurse Advice line at 541-737-2724.
Again, at times like these the entire OSU community has a shared responsibility for keeping our campus healthy. Thank you in advance for your help with this important effort.
Jenny Haubenreiser Dr. Jeff Mull
Executive Director Medical Director
OSU Student Health Services OSU Student Health Services