Ursinus College students are falling ill with a stomach bug and so far nearly 200 cases have been reported at this small Pennsylvania college. At first the evidence pointed to the Ursinus College campus dinning hall as the origin of this stomach bug, but the health department found that wasn’t the case. Now the once closed dining hall is open again.
According to USA Today on February 12, this illness is a gastrointestinal ailment causing “prolonged bouts of vomiting,” which seems to be the main symptom. Along with the vomiting, some students are also experiencing diarrhea. Students first started reporting feeling sick on Thursday night.
The one common factor among all the sick students was that they all ate at the campus dining hall, said Paul Dogharamji, who is with the school’s health services. Some of the students who are laid up with this bug found the strength to post on social media. Posts are similar to this one, Rob at Dewberry_crunch writes on Twitter:
“People are dropping like flies. I am one of them. The Ursinus Plague is real. Run for the hills before it’s too late. #ursinusplague.”
While the majority of students are riding out the bug, 22 have sought treatment at area hospitals and clinics. This college is located about 30 miles outside of Philadelphia and its student body consists of about 1,600.
The Canada Journal reports today: “After receiving approval from county health officials, the college re-opened one of the dining halls.” The health department still does not know where this illness started.
The Montgomery Health Department has come in and scoured the kitchens throughout the college campus. Valerie Arkoosh, who is the interim medical director of the Montgomery Health Department sent out a statement jointly with Ursinus College:
“I encourage any students or staff experiencing symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain to be particularly careful about dehydration and to seek medical care.”
The school is asking that the students remain vigilant and asked students to please call the campus cleaning services if they had gotten sick in the residence halls. The college cancelled all classes until Monday. The Health Department, who has been investigating to find the origin of this illness, should have an answer within the next few days.
Some of the students who were sick sound as if they are feeling better as they’ve decided to eat off-campus for the time being. It is the time of year for viruses and they can spread like wildfire when people are in close proximity like on a college campus or on a cruise ship.