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Pitt-Johnstown cancels events, cleanses campus because of norovirus

By John D. Oravecz and Matthew Santoni
Sunday, March 30, 2014, 10:06 a.m.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown all but shut down over the weekend when several students reported an illness that health officials believed to be a norovirus.

The Pitt-Johnstown students reported the illness to campus Health Services on Thursday and Friday, according to the university. School officials consulted with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which indicated an airborne norovirus could be the cause.

Classes were expected to resume on Monday after staff disinfected all the campus academic buildings, food preparation areas and dining spaces with an EPA-approved cleaning product, said university spokesman Bob Knipple.

Staff gave students disinfecting wipes to clean their residential spaces.

“We are very proud of the response by our campus, for the cooperation and understanding of our students and for the fine work of our employees to help limit further transmission of the virus,” Knipple said.

Pitt-Johnstown urged students, faculty members and staffers to limit their exposure of gatherings of students in confined spaces.

To limit such exposure, the university canceled all on-campus social events and a bus trip to Baltimore, suspended shuttle service, closed its campus Wellness Center, suspended cafeteria services at all dining facilities on campus and offered prepackaged meals in the Student Union for pickup.

The state health department cleared everything to be reopened, starting on Monday.

Knipple said he did not know how many students got sick.

Symptoms of the gastrointestinal illness include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and general abdominal discomfort. Victims are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill until at least three days after they have recovered, according to the Health Department.

John D. Oravecz and Matthew Santoni are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Oravecz at 412-320-7882 or Reach Santoni at 412-380-5625 or



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