DANBURY, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A suspected case of norovirus has closed a Connecticut university after about 100 students fell ill.
Every surface in every public area has been wiped down with disinfectant at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. The cafeteria has been scrubbed as well as the bathrooms with signs warning about “a viral-like illness” that has been making people sick.
About 100 students have come down with stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
“When you get a lot of people around, it spreads very quickly and it’s hard to contain,” WCSU spokesman Paul Steinmetz told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
Steinmetz said in order to stop the spread of what’s believed to be norovirus, the administration decided to cancel classes, Aiello reported.
John Clark, the president of WCSU, said in a statement that he consulted with state, local and university health officials before deciding to close the school Monday.
He said the decision was made “to protect our university community from infection and spread of the disease.”
“Additionally, this will give our professional staff an additional day to further consult with state and city health officials to determine next steps,” Clark said. “While the latest data we have about the disease is encouraging, we want to make doubly sure that the university is safe and secure for all before re-opening.”
The school is recommending that students go home, if possible, and if they fall ill, stay in their room to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Quiet, not a lot of people,” said student Joshua Wright. “A deserted school right now.”
“Having school canceled today with finals coming so close,” said student Frances Snyder.
Hand washing with soap and water is the best defense. Experts say using hand sanitizer alone won’t do the trick.
“The health department people just told me sitting in class doesn’t spread the virus,” said Steinmetz. “Not breathable, it’s definitely, has to get in your mouth. So if you’re careful, in addition to all the other things we’re doing, should be OK.”
The university has about 5,700 students on two campuses in the city.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)