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USC students back at school after virus

October 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
School was back in session at USC Monday, despite a weekend illness which sickened some 200-students. Health officials blame the rash of illnesses on a virus, and not contaminated food."There was just a lot of projectile vomiting," said Kara Lemma, a sick student.

Grad student Kara Lemma says her experience with norovirus started at the USC football game on Saturday.

"It was so immediate you could not contain yourself at all," said Lemma.

Anywhere around campus it is easy to run into someone with a similar story.

"I feel really horrible and I have cramping in my stomach. I am just going to go home and get into bed," said Taylor Kendrick, a sick student.

USC officials say that in a close campus or residential setting the virus can spread quickly through person to person contact. Sharing a public railing, a bench, or even a keyboard are just some of the ways to contract the virus.

"If somebody has it on their hands and puts it on a computer even and then somebody else uses the computer it can be transferred that way. If somebody is vomiting then it can actually be transmitted through the air," said Dr. Lawrence Neinstein, USC Health Center.

On Friday it spread like a wildfire in a couple of freshman dorms. The norovirus, sometimes called the stomach flu, is a viral infection of the digestive system. It lasts about 48 hours. The only treatment is to let the disease run its course.

"I drank a lot of fluids and took Advil for the headaches and stuff. I will nibble on some Saltines when I can," said Lemma.

Health alerts were sent out to the entire student body. The school is also handing out cases wipes and hand sanitizers.

"I am just trying to do everything I can so I do not get sick," said a concerned USC student.

Kara Lemma says the norovirus and Saturday's game will be forever linked in her mind.

"USC won the game, but I don't remember the score because I was so sick," said Lemma.

Students and staff have been urged to keep their hands clean and avoid socializing if they've have had contact with sick students.

 

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