Health officials at the University of California at Berkeley are investigating a possible outbreak of norovirus at the campus in recent weeks, university officials said Tuesday, a stomach bug unaffectionately nicknamed "the winter vomiting" disease.
So far the university's student health center has confirmed three cases of the virus out of 29 possible cases, as there as been an overall rise in norovirus this season in California, student health services spokeswoman Kim LaPean said in a statement. The pace of the outbreak is about four times the number of cases reported at this time in 2014, the California Department of Public Health reported in December.
Cal doctors have not been able to tie the cases to any particular event, location or eating establishment.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States, according to the California Department of Public Health. There are frequently outbreaks during the winter months, though the virus can be spread all year. Norovirus is responsible for approximately 20 million illnesses each year, with 570 to 800 deaths reported annually, the public health department said.
Infections can be caused by eating contaminated food, contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces.
To stop the spread of the virus, university officials are asking students to frequently wash their hands, thoroughly clean surfaces and immediately remove potentially contaminated clothing.
Anyone who is sick has been asked to stay home, avoid contact with others and not to prepare food.
For more information on norovirus, click here.