PRLog - Feb. 20, 2012 - PEORIA, Ariz. -- Last week, students, faculty and staff from George Washington University were warned to take extra precautions following an outbreak of norovirus on campus. Approximately 85 cases of the gastrointestinal illness have already been identified.
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This latest outbreak is the third this year that has been investigated by the D.C. Department of Health. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are due to norovirus infections each year.
Noroviruses are transmitted primarily through the fecal-oral route, either by consumption of fecally contaminated food or water or by direct person-to-person contact. Environmental and fomite contamination may also act as a source of infection.
Evidence also exists for transmission due to aerosolization of vomitus that presumably results in droplets contaminating surfaces or entering the oral mucosa and being swallowed. Noroviruses are highly contagious, as few as 10 viral particles may be sufficient to infect an individual.
Outbreaks of norovirus have occurred in restaurants, cruise ships, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, banquet halls, summer camps and family dinners. These outbreaks occur across the nation.
“In recent years a PCR technique has been developed to identify the norovirus from environmental samples,” reported Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a leading Mid-Atlantic indoor air quality (IAQ) and infection control consulting firm. “Utilizing advanced DNA testing can help quickly identify the source of an outbreak and prevent it from causing additional illnesses. Proactive personal hygiene and sanitation efforts can help prevent and minimize outbreaks of this virus,” she continued.
SEHC sponsored a public outreach video about noroviruses that can be seen at:
To learn more about preventing infectious microbial pathogens, or other environmental and IAQ issues, please visit http://www.sussexenvironmental.com, email susan.white@
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About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC
SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services. The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services customers nationwide. SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to international Fortune 500 corporations.