Stanford is currently working with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department in an ongoing investigation of 52 cases of students suffering from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in Florence Moore Hall (FloMo).
The earliest case was reported on Tuesday afternoon and reports continued through Wednesday until midnight Thursday morning, according to Ira Friedman, director of Vaden Health Center.
Friedman added that four students in that period of time were treated and released at the Stanford Hospital Emergency Room, all of whom quickly recovered after being treated and stabilized. None were admitted for overnight stays.
“It was a very rapid number of cases all at once, within 24 hours,” Friedman said.
The symptoms of the cases are consistent with those associated with the norovirus — a rapid overwhelming onset, nausea and vomiting, slight fever in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea and a rapid resolution within 24 hours. Friedman emphasizes that norovirus should not be confused with the flu, which manifests respiratory symptoms like runny noses, colds, headaches, coughs, swollen glands and sinus-affecting symptoms.
Friedman said the investigation of the situation may take several days, as Stanford and the health county department collect and analyze data by surveying students who became ill and examining their food intake histories.
The residential custodial staff has been sanitizing common spaces in FloMo more frequently since Wednesday morning, cleaning in double shifts. Vaden Health Center is also working with Peer Health Educators (PHEs) and Residential Assistants (RA) in order to inform the rest of the student body on how to best stay healthy.
Friedman emphasized the need for students to take extra precaution with personal hygiene.
“Norovirus can be spread person to person, in contact with objects, with food, even contact with air when someone is actively retching,” Friedman said. “One has to be very careful in approaching infected materials and people.”
Friedman emphasized that individuals can continue to spread the virus even after 72 hours after recovery.
However, Friedman denied that the affected individuals had to be isolated as long as students are on guard against a “secondary spread.”
Though FloMo Dining is still in operation, it will undergo a complete sanitization over the weekend, according to a press release on Thursday.
Friedman stated that the last outbreak of norovirus that was similar in numbers to this one was six or seven years ago in Toyon Hall. However, he also mentioned that several small outbreaks on campus have occurred since then.
Contact Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ stanford.edu.