Confirming Norovirus for Faculty/Staff

From: Orionzi, Ganard
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 12:58 PM
To: CSB Employees - Urgent Notifications; SJU Employees - Urgent Notifications
Subject: Confirmed Norovirus

According to the information from Minnesota Department of Health, the laboratory analytical results for three specimens collected from CSB/SJU have confirmed the presence of norovirus.  This confirmation should not lower the intensity of our current efforts to stop the spread of infection. There continues to be symptomatic patients and students self-reporting onset of symptoms. Following are a few more reminders to sustain the campaign against this virus.

Contaminated hands remain the single most common method for the spread of norovirus. Therefore, hand-washing remains the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of infection.

  • Wash your hands with Soap & running water (preferably warm water) for 10-20 seconds, which is comparable to singing “You are my Sunshine” twice.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are provided on both campuses and should be considered an adjunct to hand-washing and not a replacement. Use hand sanitizers ONLY:

  • When soap & water are not available
  • Between hand-washings
  • To supplement hand-washing

Apply 1 ml (¾ inch diameter/nickel size of gel) of the sanitizer, rub and allow a 10-15 second contact time before touching something.

Reportable gastrointestinal Illness. (How do you decide whether to come to work or class?) - The symptoms of this virus are experiencing acute-onset vomiting, watery non-bloody diarrhea with abdominal cramps, nausea, and a low-grade fever. If you have these symptoms, you should not go to class or work, but rather inform your supervisor, RD/FR, and remain at home or in your residential hall. Dehydration is the most common complication of this illness, so if you are unable to keep liquids down, be sure to seek medical advise.

Environmental surfaces that are known to be contaminated by symptomatic person should be reported immediately to house keeping/custodial services for effective disinfection. Do not settle only on routine household disinfectants, as many of the products are ineffective against norovirus. Disinfectants known to be effective against norovirus include: Chlorine, Virkon - (Accelerated Potassium Peroxymonosulphate),  Mikro-Bac - (Phenols), Virox (Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP)), EcoTru – (Parachlorometaxylenol (PCMX)). In addition, treatment with heat readily deactivates norovirus and is the recommended method in food services. Custodial services should continue to apply cleaning and disposal procedures that are in place for bloodborne pathogen.

Again, good hand washing is the most effective way to ensure an environment that decreases the risk of contamination from infection. Enhanced sanitation procedures are necessary as to prevent and control its frequency. We as CSB/SJU community have responded very well to ensure that both of these important procedures are known and practiced.

Ganard Orionzi
Dir, Environmental Health & Safety