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County Recommends Precautions to Prevent Spread of GI Illness

By Julia Ann Easley on May 9, 2017 in University

See the May 10 update to this story.

Update May 9: Cindy Schorzman, medical director of Student Health and Counseling Services at UC Davis, said seven additional students came to the clinic on Monday, for a total of 10 that day, but there have been no new cases this morning. To date, all of the tests from students have come back negative for norovirus.   

Update May 8: Cindy Schorzman, medical director of Student Health and Counseling Services at UC Davis, said that this morning three additional students had come to the clinic with related symptoms and several had called the health center’s triage nurse for similar symptoms. 

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May 5: The Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency is advising the public to take simple health precautions to limit the spread of an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness in the county.

The county issued a today (May 5).

County health authorities are investigating whether reports of stomach flu at UC Davis and elsewhere are the result of norovirus, a form of stomach flu marked by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It can last for one to three days. 

Yolo County Public Health Officer Ron Chapman said the illness is highly contagious and there are no antibiotics with which to treat it.

Dean Blumberg, associate professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases for UC Davis Health, said the major complication of norovirus infection is that it increases risk of dehydration. "It's important to make sure you take in fluids, even small amounts," he said.

Mollie Teng, infection control chair and a primary care physician at Student Health and Counseling Services, said 15 students had reported symptoms in keeping with norovirus.

The student health center is providing information about the county's announcement and assisting the county with its investigation.

The county's release advises:

  • Those with symptoms stay home and not return to work or school until 48 hours after symptoms have resolved.
  • Practice good hand-washing, particularly after using the bathroom and before eating;
  • Thoroughly clean surfaces following .

Blumberg of UC Davis Health said that alcohol-based hand gels may not work as well against norovirus to prevent its transmission. He emphasized the importance of washing hands with soap and water. 

"You need to wash for at least 30 seconds," Blumberg said. "Don't cut corners when washing your hands!"

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