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Norovirus outbreak ‘likely over’

Last week’s norovirus outbreak is likely over, MIT Associate Medical Director Howard M. Heller wrote in an email to The Tech.

Last week, MIT Medical officials reported an increased number of acute gastroenteritis cases that may have been linked to norovirus, as mentioned in an email sent out to students from the Division of Student Life. MIT Medical’s Urgent Care Service treated a total of 22 students for diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

The cases were not linked to any particular dorm or dining hall, according to Heller. Of the 22 students, 17 came from nine different dorms, and the other five live off-campus.

“It is likely that we were just seeing one of the periodic outbreaks of norovirus that happen every now and then,” said Heller. He suggested that promptly notifying campus about the outbreak may have halted the outbreak’s progression.

Heller advises that students continue to practice good hygiene to deter the spread of norovirus, including “frequent and consistent handwashing.” He also added that handwashing with soap and water has been shown to be more effective than using hand sanitizers.

Norovirus causes stomach and intestinal inflammation, known as acute gastroenteritis, and is known to spread quickly in dense environments like college campuses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.

Those experiencing symptoms should visit MIT Medical Urgent Care, which is open for walk-ins from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, or call the 24-hour helpline at 617-253-4481 for medical advice.

—Rohan Banerjee