A highly contagious stomach virus known as the “norovirus” has sickened about 50 students in Chapman University in Orange. According to a KABC news report, the Orange County Health Care Agency confirmed that they got about 30 reports of ill students on Friday and have identified the pathogen as the norovirus. Lab results showed samples from affected students tested positive for the virus.
Over the weekend, an on-campus cafeteria was sanitized to prevent the further spread of the food-borne illness. Randall Dining, which runs the main cafeteria at the university, could be a potential source, but that has not yet been confirmed. The virus can be transmitted from an infected person, contaminated food or water or by touching contaminated surfaces.
What is Norovirus?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus is a contagious virus, which can be transmitted through an infected person, causes the stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed. This could result in severe symptoms such as acute stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Norovirus illness can be serious especially for young children and older adults. It is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, the virus causes 19 to 21 million illnesses and contributes to anywhere between 56,000 and 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths. Most recently there were several norovirus outbreaks in various cruise ships.
Preventing Norovirus Infections
There are many precautions that can be taken to prevent norovirus infections that are transmitted through food:
• Wash your hands. It is especially important to wash food before and after handling food and of course after using the restroom.
• Do not prepare or handle food when you are sick.,
• Wash produce well. You can reduce your chances of contracting or spreading the norovirus by washing fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them.
• Cook your food properly. It is important that foods, particularly meats, are cooked thoroughly before eating.
• Clean up. Norovirus can spread through the infected person’s vomit. If an infected person has thrown up, the area should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
The most common cause of a norovirus outbreak is lack of cleanliness and hygiene, particularly when it comes to food handling, food preparation, and storage. If you have been sickened due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for damages such as medical expenses, loss of wages, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer will be able to advise victims regarding their legal rights and options.