Archive of news updates about disease outbreaks and any impact on the Carleton community.

Stomach Illness update

April 27, 2016 at 9:51 am

As many of you are likely aware a number of students (around 20-25) have recently reported nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. 

The symptoms are characteristic of norovirus, a mild, self-limiting viral infection. The Minnesota Department of Health is investigating to determine the source of the illness.  Based on the information received so far it is very unlikely the illness is related to food served in any of the Carleton dining facilities. 

We are asking students, staff and faculty to report their illness via form so SHAC and the Minnesota Department of Health may track ill people at Carleton. Please don’t call SHAC unless you’ve had symptoms for more than 24 hours. 

This infection is spread through person-to-person contact—norovirus is transmitted through feces or vomit that is ingested. All students, staff and faculty must practice common-sense hygiene measures to prevent the spread of this illness:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly. Regular, waterless hand sanitizer is not effective against this virus.
  • Do not share food, drinks or eating utensils.
  • Do not have contact with someone who is sick 

Individuals who have symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea):

  • Limit contact with others while symptomatic, don’t go to class, don’t go to the dining hall. Wash your hands frequently. Ask friends to bring you food and beverages.
  • Rest. Notify your professors if you need to miss class. If you need additional support, contact the Dean of Students Office. They are aware that a number of students are reporting similar symptoms.
  • If you’ve been vomiting, try not to eat or drink anything for 1-2 hours. This will help the vomiting reflex to calm down. If you can rest or sleep during this time, that would be best.
  • After 1-2 hours, take small sips of flat soda or Gatorade. You will feel thirsty, but don’t guzzle the liquids.
  • Once you can keep liquids down, drink plenty of fluids so you don’t become dehydrated, eat only bland foods if you feel hungry. Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast are good choices.
  • The symptoms associated with this outbreak have been mild and are not life threatening and usually resolve in about 24 hours.
  • If you work as a food handler, do not return to work until you have been free of symptom for 24 hours.
  • Call Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) if your symptoms last more than 24 hours (507-222-4080). 

For more information on norovirus, visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s fact sheet.