July 2, 2012 — At least 107 kids attending youth sports camps at the University of Notre Dame have been sickened with gastrointestinal illness caused by the norovirus. Symptoms of the disease are typical of severe stomach flu, and they are usually not life-threatening. All of the children have been treated on campus or at nearby hospitals, and Notre Dame is currently working with the St. Joseph County Health Department to determine the cause of the outbreak and sanitize the dormitories, communal eating areas, and other places where the virus could spread.
The outbreak began on Wednesday, June 27, when more than 100 local middle school and high school students suddenly became very sick. All of the children had similar symptoms — vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. The children were participating in summer camps for football, hockey, women’s basketball, women’s lacrosse, and women’s tennis camps.
Health officials do not know what caused the illness, but given the large number of children affected, it was likely transmitted by food poisoning or some common surface that the children touched. Norovirus exists in the vomit and stool of an infected individual. People get sick when they consume food or drinks that have been contaminated, usually when someone gets vomit or stool on their hands and then prepares food. Another way people get sick is by touching surfaces contaminated with norovirus and then touching the face, eyes, or mouth.
The university sent a letter to parents with the following recommendations for reducing the risk of transmitting norovirus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Avoid sharing equipment such as water bottles, mouth guards, and eating utensils
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastrointestinal illness in the United States, causing more than 20 million cases of gastroenteritis every year. Although norovirus is not always the cause of food poisoning, it is commonly responsible. Most people recover from the illness within 1-2 days, but it can be more serious in young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Dehydration is usually the most severe complication.
Do I have a Norovirus Food Poisoning Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting norovirus induced food poisoning cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by norovirus food poisoning, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Food Poisoning Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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