50 Students Sickened in Outbreak of Suspected Norovirus at Chapman University

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Chapman University is seen in an image from Google Maps Street View.

Dozens of students have reported symptoms after a recent outbreak of suspected norovirus on the Chapman University campus, according to officials at the Orange County school.

The small outbreak of the highly contagious gastrointestinal illness was believed to have begun last Wednesday, the university said in a statement on its website.

About 50 students showed symptoms of the virus, which include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, according to the statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website stated that it is typically spread through contaminated food or water, or by contact with an infected person. Symptoms typically subside within one to two days.

The Orange County Health Department has determined norovirus to most likely be the cause of the illnesses, school officials said. So far, only one student has tested positive for the virus.

The department’s investigation was ongoing, and officials were still trying to determine the origin of the outbreak. They did not believe it to be foodborne, however, as several students who fell ill lived off-campus and did not use the school’s dining facilities.

Still, amid the recent rash of sickness, the university’s residence-hall dining common was closed over the weekend so crews could clean it. A county health inspector signed off that it was disinfected, according to the statement.

The dining area reopened on Monday.

The university said it was cleaning and disinfecting high-traffic areas on campus, and messaging students and members of the community to keep them informed. They were also coordinating with the county Health Department and campus offices, according to the statement.

About 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students attend the mid-sized private school, which is located in the city of Orange.