More than 100 people have come down with a gastrointestinal illness at Houghton College

Nov 6, 2017

Credit houghton.edu

Officials at Houghton College are trying to find the source of an illness that has hit more than 100 students and staff members.

Most cases of the illness seem to have emerged late Friday and continued to be reported throughout the weekend, with symptoms including sudden vomiting and diarrhea. Although they have slowed down, new cases were still being reported on Sunday and into Monday.

Robert Pool, Vice President of Student Life at Houghton said that the facilities and dining services staff are working to disinfect bathrooms, dining and living areas, door handles, knobs and any other "common touch" areas.

"We changed some protocols in the dining hall to make sure there were fewer opportunities to touch surfaces. So instead of having salad bars and omelet bars for self-serve we brought them in."

Pool said the college has been working with the Alleghany County Department of Public Health to investigate all possibilities. 

The cause of the illness has not been identified yet. Pool is asking any ill students who might have ideas as to where they contracted the illness, to contact their resident directors or Pool himself.

He says symptoms are severe for about a day and then taper off.

Many conflicting reports have come in on where the illness might have come from, Pool says, making it hard to narrow down the search.

"Reports from folks who had just eaten on campus, we also heard reports from people who had eaten off campus."

He reminds students and staff to wash their hands and use personal precautionary measures to eliminate spread of the illness.

Classes and campus programming are going on as scheduled Monday.