February 10, 2004
Norovirus confirmed in viral gastroenteritis outbreak at the University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Mich—Initial samples taken from students sick with viral gastroenteritis at the University of Michigan have tested positive for norovirus. These tests were conducted by the State of Michigan Bureau of Laboratories, and results were provided to University officials by Washtenaw County Public Health on Tuesday, February 10.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, noroviruses are a group of related viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. Norovirus recently was approved as the official genus name for the group of viruses provisionally described as "Norwalk-like viruses."
"From the beginning, we have been responding as if this was a norovirus, the more contagious of the viruses that cause viral gastroenteritis," says Dr. Robert A. Winfield, Director, University Health Service. "We are not surprised by the lab tests confirming our initial suspicions. All of the steps we have taken to date to control the transmission of the virus were appropriate."
As of Tuesday, February 10, University Housing officials have received reports of 93 students who have been sick or currently are sick. An ongoing investigation by Occupational Safety and Environmental Health staff has eliminated 11 of these self-reports as other non-related illnesses.
"All indications up to this point continue to point to this outbreak as being spread by person-to-person transmission," says Laura Bauman, an epidemiologist with Washtenaw County Public Health.
For daily updates and specifics on actions taken by the University to address
and control the outbreak, go to
Alan J. Levy
Robert A. Winfield, M.D.,