Norovirus caused illness at UM retreat

September 01, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

COLLEGE PARK -- The illness that affected about 60 people who had attended a conference at the American Center for Physics building here last week was caused by the norovirus, the same ailment that made nearly 100 students ill after a visit to the University of Maryland early last month, Prince George's County health officials said yesterday.

Health officials said they were unsure how either group contracted the virus. The ailment is transmitted through contact with fecal matter or vomit. Symptoms include nausea and diarrhea; it is rarely fatal, but victims can remain contagious for up to two weeks.

Tests are being conducted but are unlikely to determine whether the two incidents are related, said Dr. Frederick J. Corder, the county's health officer. Corder said frequent hand-washing is the best way to prevent the virus.

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