Gastrointestinal illness outbreak investigation confirmed at UAH

Published: Sep. 11, 2019 at 5:40 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - An official from the Alabama Department of Public Health and another from UAH’s Office of Communications confirm there is an investigation into a Norovirus outbreak at UAH.

UAH’s Director of Student Health, Amber McPhail, said almost 50 students have fallen ill as of Wednesday afternoon.

McPhail said Norovirus is highly contagious and can be contracted in a variety of ways.

Recovery for Norovirus patients is going to be a lot of bed rest and fluids, said McPhail.

For those who do not have norovirus, McPhail encourages them to constantly be washing their hands. McPhail said hand sananitizer will not do the trick, only soap and water will really help.

Activities on campus will go on as planned, one student says the virus going around just makes him more aware of his hygiene.

“Anytime you hear about any kind of outbreak like that you double-down on your hygiene procedures,” said Brady Staup, a UAH Sophomore.

Dr. Karen Landers with the State Health Department said ADPH is conducting an investigation into the Norovirus outbreaks. Dr. Landers says ADPH is following standard procedure and is interviewing patients, looking for common sources of exposure, and obtaining samples.

A parent of a UAH student reached out to WAFF with concern that the illness was related to food served at a on-campus cafeteria.

Ray Garner, a UAH spokesperson, said they can’t confirm if the illness is food borne and said some students who ate in a cafeteria had fallen ill, but also said some students who were ill had not eaten at that cafeteria. Garner said UAH is working alongside ADPH to identify the source of the infection.

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