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Viral Outbreak at UoG

Friday, February 3, 2006

31 Comments

Written by Rachna Mutreja

Students at the University of Guelph have been attacked by a virus affecting the gastrointestinal system...

As of Friday, January 27, 2006, students at the University of Guelph have been attacked by a virus affecting the gastrointestinal system. Students, mostly in South residence, are experiencing symptoms including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. Currently, there is an estimated 180 students who are affected by this gastrointestinal illness.

The university is working closely with the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit. Students who are experiencing the symptoms have been advised not to leave their residence for 24 to 48 hours. Additionally, South residence is currently restricted only to residents. Guests and other students are not permitted to enter the building until the matter is resolved and the virus stops spreading.

Health units are advising students with the symptoms to rest, drink liquids to keep hydrated and to avoid eating solid foods. All individuals are recommended to wash their hands and take measures to stop spreading germs to prevent further diseases.

“I am very impressed by how quickly the university and the local health department responded in taking appropriate steps in dealing with the virus outbreak in such a large population,” said C.J. an employee of the university.

“My friend couldn’t get out of bed or move and had to ask security services to drive her from south to student health services,” said another resident in south who wanted to remain anonymous. Many students in South have been leaving throughout the week to go home early to avoid falling ill.

Student Housing Services and Student Health Services are providing water and other fluids to students. Students and individuals who think they might be experiencing any symptoms should contact a clinic on or off campus immediately.


Community members who believe they are in need of medical attention should contact Student Health Services x52131 or their family physician.

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  1. Posted by: k/i/m on Feb 2, 2006 @ 4:11pm

    Hey Ya’ll


    It’s your friendly Academic Commissioner here.

    This is possibly the worst time to have a “viral outbreak” because this is the season for Midterms and big assignments.

    So, if you have come down with the virus and can not complete an assignment or study for a midterm contact your professor as soon as possible to inform them of your condition. It is also pertinent that you contact health services (x52131) on campus to inform them of your illness so they can keep track of the outbreak.

    If you are not given an extension or consideration for your illness please email me or your respective program councilor.

    My email is, Kim Neale: [email protected]

    I wish you all the best and I am not religious but I truly am praying for everyone’s health.

    k/i/m

  2. Posted by: commentator on Feb 2, 2006 @ 4:55pm

    "I am not religious but I truly am praying for everyone’s health."

    That makes no sense.

  3. Posted by: John h on Feb 2, 2006 @ 6:52pm

    Let's just see it as a way of saying she wishes the best for all of us.

  4. Posted by: fiona on Feb 2, 2006 @ 8:28pm

    this "viral outbreak" has a name. its called food poisoning.

  5. Posted by: Rob on Feb 2, 2006 @ 9:19pm

    I bet it's Norwalk.

  6. Posted by: on Feb 2, 2006 @ 11:44pm

    " this "viral outbreak" has a name. its called food poisoning."

    excuse me, someone else who understands!!!

    From someone who lives in South and lived in Toronto during the Norwalk outbreak,

    it ain't Norwalk.

  7. Posted by: k/i/m on Feb 3, 2006 @ 1:23am

    The University is claiming that it is not food poisoning.

    The preliminary data has shown an exponential increase over time of people who have been getting infected, which is clear evidence it is viral (that factoid was for all you biomed students). This exponential increase has also begun to drop, which is a good sign.


    The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Health Unit is investigating and I am sure they checked out whether or not the hamburgers (or tofu), in South are ok to eat......

    In any case, we have been reassured that it is not food poisoning and we have been told from the University that it is for sure viral. If the CSA receives anything that may indicate otherwise we will inform every student.

    I recognize that the last comment with the “non-religious” and “praying” stuff made no sense. In the future I will try not to be so cheesy, or lame.

    Cheers,
    k/i/m

    NOTE: I made no ridiculous comment at the end......well I guess this is one, but don’t count it.

  8. Posted by: Alex on Feb 3, 2006 @ 12:19pm

    May I see this preliminary data because from what I've seen and heard (both literally and figuratively) there was a huge group of people in South (30%-40%) who got sick within hours of each other and few sporadic cases through out the week. It's very confusing.

  9. Posted by: Rob on Feb 3, 2006 @ 2:46pm

    I bet it's the bird flu from all those damn pigeons flying around. I've cracked it!

    And from someone who actually had norwalk, it sure sounds like norwalk.

  10. Posted by: Rohan on Feb 3, 2006 @ 3:31pm

    As a resident of South let me assure you that this "outbreak" is not Norwalk, food poisoning, or the Avian flu. The virus is not being transmitted through contaminated water. Additionally guests and non residents are not being denied entry to south in the form of a quarantine but are simply being discouraged. And contrary to the rumours circulating, the WHO has not been involved.

  11. Posted by: UGB on Feb 3, 2006 @ 4:35pm

    I saw a monkey (like the one from Outbreak) running around behind south.

  12. Posted by: Dave on Feb 3, 2006 @ 5:38pm

    YOU DID TOO???

    Although it looked more like the ones from 28 Days Later....

    Everyone keep your eyes out for zombies

  13. Posted by: Rob on Feb 3, 2006 @ 5:57pm

    Well Rohan, you sure do seem to know alot about this "outbreak".... so instead of telling us for sure what it isn't tell us what it is. And how do you know so much about this...

  14. Posted by: UGB on Feb 3, 2006 @ 6:04pm

    Yeah, Rohan, It does seem somewhat... convenient.

  15. Posted by: Alex on Feb 3, 2006 @ 6:09pm

    And as if South's reputation couldn't get any worse.

  16. Posted by: Jamie on Feb 3, 2006 @ 7:06pm

    In my Principles of Disease lecture today my prof (Dr. Foster) said it looked to him like a Norwalk type virus. I'm not saying he's right. I'm just saying I'm more likely to trust what he says than someone who just thinks they know something about everything.

  17. Posted by: Natalie on Feb 3, 2006 @ 7:08pm

    It's not just at South, it has spread all over the city of Guelph. It's just a flu.

  18. Posted by: Kim on Feb 3, 2006 @ 11:34pm

    My housemate had the same symptoms, so we're assuming its the same thing. over a week ago. So I can confirm that this isn't just in South since we do not live on campus or anywhere close to it.

  19. Posted by: Jen on Feb 4, 2006 @ 9:56am

    So when do they close campus down for the length of the incubation period to stop this freaking virus??? All the Student Life staff (aka the third floor of the UC) are dropping like flies, and it's extended well beyond the residences. Is anybody else wondering why the University isn't taking this more seriously? it seems like the regional health authority is the only one doing so...

  20. Posted by: anon on Feb 4, 2006 @ 10:41am

    This virus is spread because people do not wash their hands enough especially after going to the bathroom which is the common reason with the Norwalk virus.

  21. Posted by: Alex on Feb 4, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    To jen, yeah it took the university wednesday afternoon to recognise the problem, when people were reporting sick on monday morning, so I'd give it a couple days.

    If you're freaked out enough by it just wash the hell out of your hands before you eat and eat at little as possible on campus

  22. Posted by: KIMIK on Feb 4, 2006 @ 7:35pm

    I'm not going to waste anyone's time with my uneducated speculation on what is virus/illness is afflicting people. I would just like to make a point that you do not have to be religious to pray. You do not need a God/spirit/deity to feel that consciously hoping that people will feel better will have an affect on the situation. I suggest looking up Reiki or "energy work" and you might find that the concept of 'healing' through thoughts and feelings has been around for thousands of years. And you don't have to be religious/non-religious to practice it. I think the layman's term in our culture is 'wishful' thinking, and when it comes to healing, some people believe that it can actually work.

    Peace, and wellness to all.

  23. Posted by: Al on Feb 4, 2006 @ 10:42pm

    i dont know that this thing is but i'm freaked out. i wish they'd stop classes until they're able to contain this virus, because i dread every time i have to go to campus - i've even made myself sick with nerves because my marks will be blasted out of the water if i get this thing and have to miss stuff. am i crazy or do you guys agree?

  24. Posted by: Alex on Feb 4, 2006 @ 11:15pm

    You think you have problems, try living in South and have your roommate get calls from public health like "yeah, we don't think you need to be quarantined but try to avoid people if you don't feel well".

    In anycase just wash your hands when you get home for like a minute and don't put things in your mouth.

  25. Posted by: Alicia on Feb 5, 2006 @ 11:11am

    this entire thing is ridiculous and the university isn't taking it seriously. sorry, its the truth. thank god i moved out of south in december.

  26. Posted by: Walkertonian on Feb 5, 2006 @ 1:16pm

    This is just sounding SO familiar! I grew up in Walkerton (the outbreak happened when I was 15) and it took them days just to admit there was a problem (all the while people were "dropping like flies", in the words of Jen). I also think that the University should be taking this more seriously - maybe there should be "sanitizer" stations set up around campus or something, lol.
    At the very least it would be nice if they would give us more news about what's going on.

  27. Posted by: Mel on Feb 5, 2006 @ 4:45pm

    At this point, it seems from my end of things that it's dying down. Granted, I haven't spoken to anyone from south in a couple of days, but there you have it. Honestly people, unless you have an immune system deficiency, don't worry too much. Yes, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and use the sanitizer that has been put at the entrances to each dining hall. Yes, if you do get sick, stay the heck away from classes, the library, get friends to pick up stuff for you from the dining halls etc. But all that happens (which I know is not plesant) is you vomit for a bit and/or have diarrhea for maybe a day or two. Follow the treatment directions that have been sent out and you'll be fine, if moderately uncomfortable.

  28. Posted by: Elyse on Feb 6, 2006 @ 3:13am

    This is getting way out of hand. First, the title of 'gastrointestinal illness’ is a category, there are many viruses that fit under this category because the symptoms are all very similar-NORWALK being one of these viruses! These viruses break out a lot easier in close-knit environments like residences or camps. I luckily live in North campus, so I don’t have to deal with Guelph’s outbreak as bad as people in South do, but I have certainly dealt with it before. Two summers ago, I was working at my overnight camp and the same or a similar virus broke out. This community was much smaller than Guelph, infecting over 3/4 of the staff and campers. As terrible as the situation was, it was dealt with and we got over it. My camp isn’t seen as unclean now, so neither should Guelph. Luckily at that time I didn’t get ill, but a year ago I did contract the virus. I felt like crap for a day, but I clearly survived it. So my advice to those who are nervous about Guelph’s current situation is to CALM DOWN! If you worry your every last whim that you might get sick, your grades will suffer more than if you had actually BEEN sick. So perk up, and stop worrying. Take it from someone who has been through it, and contracted it before.

  29. Posted by: Kyle on Feb 6, 2006 @ 10:31pm

    This is rediculous. Clearly people have to calm down. No one has died from this outbreak. If you get sick, youll get better in a few days. There are procedures put in place if you have exams or assignments due. Health Services and the regional health department have done a good job in my opinion. There have been how many emails about this? Quite a few. Just a reminder... your more likely to fall ill from anything if your stressed out!

  30. Posted by: on Feb 7, 2006 @ 12:33pm

    The university and the health unit have done everything in their power to contain this: promoting good hygiene, sanitizing South bathrooms, and putting procedures in place for academic consideration. I'm hearing a lot of "the campus should shut down!" yelled all over the place. Reality check: you cannot expect the university to shut down because of a stomach bug. These things happen from time to time and they're not the end of the world! Besides, if the university did shut down, we'd lose our planned Reading Week, exams would be pushed back into summer break, and you bet your boots that we'd be all back here complaining about how unfair *that* action was.

    So just stick it out, wash your hands, don't share drinks, and be happy!

  31. Posted by: Sarah on Feb 8, 2006 @ 12:04am

    I agree with Kyle. I was sick with the virus sunday and monday. I'm all better today. I had a really rough night on sunday, monday was spent being weak and drinking fluids, and today I'm fine. I missed class monday, got the notes and brought myself up to speed on lectures. I missed a due date, emailed the prof and will hand it in tomorrow. Do I think that all classes should be cancelled for a 48 hour ordeal? Absolutely not! If the illness lasted longer or was more serious, I would be more concerned. In my opinion, every action taken so far (sanitizer stations, handwashing signs everywhere) has been the right course of action. There's nothing more to be done, except wait until the virus disappears. The unknown creates more fear of course, but this illness is nothing more then a rough 24 hour flu. Most of us have gone through worse.

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