Reported Cases of Gastroenteritis ("stomach flu") Virus and Precautions - Staff and Faculty

To: UCSC Staff and Faculty

From: Drew Malloy, M.D., Medical Director, Student Health Center

Earlier this week, I shared information with UCSC students about a number of cases of gastroenteritis ("stomach flu") that have been reported on campus during this past week. The most common cause of the "stomach flu" is a norovirus. Anyone can become sick with this virus and you can get it more than once in your lifetime. The symptoms usually begin suddenly and most people recover within 1-3 days. Viruses like this one can spread rapidly from person to person. People with norovirus can be contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill until at least three days after recovery. It is critical that all of us work to avoid spreading the illness.

The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer liquid. Do this frequently throughout the day and especially after being in the bathroom and prior to eating. Refrain from sharing food and beverage containers with another person.

If you have been sick with vomiting and diarrhea, keep yourself isolated until you are without symptoms for 48 hours.

Here is a summary of recommendations:

• Wash your hands frequently with hand sanitizer or soap and water for 20 seconds prior to eating.

• If you are sick, stay home and rest. Isolate yourself until you are free of symptoms for 48 hours.

• People experiencing lightheadedness, fainting, fever, bleeding, severe abdominal pain should seek medical evaluation with their primary care provider.

• Dietary information for people with gastroenteritis is available via this link on the Health Center web site.

My colleagues and I in the campus Health Center appreciate your assistance in following these recommendations. Your attention to good hygiene is critical in order to help maintain the health of our campus community.

Thank you.