U-M norovirus update: Hand hygiene safety reminder

February 24, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

Recently, U-M officials investigated and confirmed a norovirus outbreak on campus and have implemented special virus-related cleaning procedures as a result.  The outbreak is a good reminder about the importance of hand hygiene.

Approximately 150 students have sought treatment for diarrhea in the past week.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who are ill should stay home and wash their hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom and before meals.  Alcohol hand cleansers are less effective, but an acceptable second choice.

“Good hand hygiene is particularly critical in continuing to break the chain of transmission,” says Dr. Robert Winfield, the university’s chief health officer. “Individuals should avoid sharing food and drinks, and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.”

Additional prevention tips include cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces such as counter tops and cell phones, and avoiding contact with others who may be ill.  For surfaces, wipes containing chlorine are most effective against norovirus.

The outbreak may having a silver lining though; by coincidence, our scientists just got approval to study norovirus in stool samples donated by people who currently have, or recently had, norovirus-like symptoms.  If you or someone you know has symptoms, or had them in the last three days, donate samples for scientists to study.  Learn more about the norovirus.