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Virus Infects 130 Students at USC Over Weekend

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USC officials notified students of a contagious gastrointestinal virus that had infected around 30 individuals on Friday night. But by Saturday afternoon, around 75 students were reported having the virus and on Sunday night, another notification was sent out via e-mail and text--the number had reached about 130 students (e-mail in full posted below).

"In the past two days, the students have arrived at on- and off-campus medical facilities exhibiting symptoms of a contagious, but self-limiting, virus: with vomiting, diarrhea and stomach-cramping," the e-mail alert told students, staff and faculty.

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Working with the university to contain the disease, LA County Public Health says this is part of the norovirus family, "a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis (GAS-tro-en-ter-EYE-tis) in people," to quote a fact sheet (.pdf) given to students.
in people. Although the County says the disease is usually not serious, "the illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick." It lasts one to two days with nausea, stomach cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. Sometimes, symptons include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. No preventative vaccines or antiviral medication exist to help ward off the virus--washing hands frequently and avoiding sharing food and drink are highly recommended.