Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Officials declare DU campus safe, identify stomach virus

Denver health department officials have declared the University of Denver campus safe after 63 students reported symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea during a four-day period beginning April 13.

Health officials report that a Norovirus caused the stomach flu that affected 63 of the university’s more than 11,000 students. The virus is spread by direct contact with contaminated surfaces, people, food or other objects. It is not spread through coughing or sneezing. It is not life threatening and symptoms generally pass within 12 to 36 hours.

Most of the affected students reported symptoms April 13 and 14. By Wednesday, April 16, the number of new cases dropped off dramatically. Dr. Sam Alexander, executive director of University Health and Counseling Services, says he is working with Denver Health to monitor cases and to help track the origin.

The best way to prevent further spread of the virus is regular hand washing and cleaning with disinfectants, Alexander says. Students, faculty and staff should not attempt to clean up after ill individuals, he advises. Instead, they may call for a building supervisor, residence hall adviser or Campus Safety, who can assist in contacting the proper custodian. DU is deep cleaning common areas at all facilities to prevent new cases and is providing sanitizing wipes in residence halls.

Denver health officials inspected Centennial Halls, the residence where many of the ill students live and eat, and found no food contamination or violations of food handling protocols. Inspectors say it is safe for students, faculty and staff to live, work and eat at DU.

DU and the Denver health department are distributing flyers with additional information across campus. Students may also contact DU’s Health Center at 303-871-2205 or visit the center’s Web site. Health Center hours are weekdays 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. After hours, call Campus Safety at 303-871-3000.

Read other stories about the student illnesses:
DU still looking for cause of student illnesses
Officials investigating cause of student illnesses

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