Virus plagues Ursinus College

Over 100 people reported nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain; classes shut down for two days.

Kelsey Bundra 

Editor-In-Chief

Around 200 Ursinus College students are ill from a suspected stomach infection. Esme Artz, an official from the university, said at least 192 students had symptoms of a stomach infection. Some of the faculty and staff from Ursinus College also reported symptoms.

Ursinus College is located in Collegeville, PA. Ursinus College has an undergraduate enrollment of 1,681.

Ursinus assures students that sickness is not food poisoning. Photo courtesy of moreuman, creative commons.
Ursinus assures students that sickness is not food poisoning. Photo courtesy of moreuman, creative commons.

The source of the stomach illness has not been determined yet. Officials are saying the illness was most likely caused by a Norovirus, not food poisoning.

There were 22 students who needed hospital treatment. Two students were taken the emergency room and two were taken to Einstein Medical Center-Montgomery. Some were treated for dehydration.

The dining halls were closed for two days as soon as students started complaining of vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. After the dining hall passed inspection, it was reopened.

While students waited for the dining hall to be reopened, Ursinus College partnered with Wawa, Wegman’s, local pizza shops and a bakery.

Classes were cancelled last Thursday afternoon and all of Friday. Weekend events were also cancelled.

On Monday, classes started up again. According to Noah Yeagley, a student at Ursinus College, some students did not attend class in fear of obtaining the illness.

“Students were advised to not attend class if they showed symptoms in the last 24 hours,” Yeagley said.Allison Emick, a student at Ursinus College, said that many people were freaked out, thinking they could get sick at any moment.

Though the situation seemed to have calmed down, students are still cautious. Students are taking extra precautions by washing their hands and keeping their distance from others.

“Things are almost totally back to normal on campus,” Emick said.

The university responded quickly with added services available to students. Wellness and Campus safety worked with local hospitals. Emick said that faculty made a station that gave students crackers and Gatorade for their sick friends. Montgomery County health investigators are still looking into the cause of the illness. Noroviruses are likely to circulate on college campuses in the winter.