Georgetown University Food Poisoning Outbreak [Update]

Updated September 28, 2021-  Norovirus is the source of a food poisoning outbreak at Georgetown University that sickened 130 students, the university and the DC Health Department have determined. One student required inpatient treatment. The university is offering mean delivery and hydration to sick students to encourage them to stay at home and limit the spread of the virus. The school’s facilities team has continued its ramped-up cleaning efforts to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Initially, university health officials stated that it seemed the illnesses were not being spread through person-to-person contact, which would rule out Norovirus. They speculated that the illnesses were part of the multistate mysterySalmonella outbreak.

On September 22, 2021, Georgetown removed “pre-packaged and pre-washed food items that are commonly associated with foodborne illnesses from our dining facilities.” The campus has also ramped up cleaning at residence halls and dining areas.

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The Georgetown students sickened in this outbreak first became ill on September 21, 2021. They reported experiencing abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Those symptoms are consistent with many kinds of food poisoning including Norovirus and salmonellosis.

As of 10 p.m. on September 21, 2021, 12 cases had been reported to Georgetown health services. But by 11 a.m. on September 24, 2021, the DC Department of Health had received 62 reports of illness. A handful of students have received treatment at emergency rooms, but none of them has been hospitalized. As of September 27, 2021, health officials believed the outbreak had ended after sickening 130 people.

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This post was originally published on September 22, 2021. 

This post was updated on September 24, 2021, to include updated cases counts of the Georgetown outbreak and the multistate Salmonella outbreak. 

This post was updated on September 28, 2021, to reflect that the outbreak was caused by Norovirus, not Salmonella as they initially suspected.  

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