Health alert on UNC campus

March 1, 2013 8:12:51 PM PST
More than 65 people have gotten sick on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill and doctors say they're not exactly sure why.

Patients have come to the emergency room or the campus health services center complaining of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Those are symptoms often associated with either food poisoning or a virus, and that's what health officials say they're focused on.

Samples have been sent to the state for norovirus testing. The school, we're told, is looking at the food side as some of the students have complained of getting sick after eating at campus cafeterias.

Junior Hannah Kiefer said that was the story with her roommate.

"She had a lot of vomiting, so pretty unpleasant for her.  And she had eaten at the dining hall, so it's dubious for her to know quite, if there's a link yet, she's had a pretty rough couple of days," said Kiefer.

Orange County health officials are also working on the problem. They're talking to people who've gotten sick and are looking for patterns. At this point, nothing seems to be standing out.

The advice right now to students and faculty is the old stand-by: Wash your hands, and if you start having symptoms, see your doctor.

Norovirus tests are expected back Monday.

WakeMed Hospital is reporting a spike in the number of cases of Norovirus it is seeing. They do not have a confirmed number of cases, but one doctor said she has seen about a dozen people in just the past week.

Doctors have also just found out that the virus has gone airborne.

"One of the theories is that the particles from just vomiting actually become airborne, on a microscopic level," said Dr. Sara Venkat with Accent Urgent Care.

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