At least 44 people associated with an on-campus event at Elon University have reported symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, according to an email sent by Dr. Ginette Archinal, University Physician and Dr. Jana Lynn Patterson, Assistant Vice President for Student Life.
Elon University, the Alamance County Health Department and the N.C. Division of Public Health are currently investigating the cause of the illness, which is typically spread through food, person-to-person contact or contact with a contaminated surface.
The event in question, a catered lunch, was hosted by a private student organization over the weekend, and was not catered by ARAMARK, the university's dining services operator. According to the email, there is no evidence to suggest campus food sources have contributed to illnesses.
The email included tips for staying healthy, and suggestions for students who feel ill. The full list can be found below.
Students and faculty with any questions should contact the R.N. Ellington Health and Counseling Center at (336) 278-7230 or the Alamance County Health Department Communicable Disease line at (336) 516-7715.
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Tips and suggestions:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating any food.
Alcohol based sanitizers are not always effective in preventing gastrointestinal illnesses, so washing hands with soap is the best way to help protect yourself
DO NOT attend class, work or other activities for 24 hours until your symptoms have resolved. Stay at home if possible. Class absences are excused at the discretion of individual faculty members or departmental policy; however, if students are treated at University Health Services, the staff will forward documentation of their illness to Academic Advising who will in turn notify the faculty members. Students, faculty or staff who may be food handlers should stay out of work for 72 hours after symptoms resolve.
Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately. Spray the area with a bleach-based household cleaner or use diluted bleach to clean the area. Tip: To make your own mixture, dilute one part bleach in 10 parts water.
Immediately remove any clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool and wash in hot water with detergent.
If you are ill, prevent dehydration by frequently sipping water or other non-alcoholic drinks.