Norovirus outbreak affecting campus

This information was updated at 10 a.m. on Feb. 16 and will be updated as new information becomes available.

The active number of norovirus cases reported on the UW Oshkosh campus continues to drop. 

Seven new cases were reported through 8 a.m. on Feb. 16 on the Norovirus Self Reporting Form.

A total of 38 people self-reported norovirus-like symptoms in the last 48 hours. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The norovirus can last up to 48 hours, and individuals are still contagious for 48 hours after symptoms subside.

The number of cases is not cause for alarm. The University will not cancel classes or close campus due to a norovirus outbreak. The only way to prevent the spread of norovirus is through hand washing, disinfecting and staying home if ill.

Custodial crews are working around the clock to disinfect campus buildings and protect students and staff against the spread of norovirus.

The University has set up a new Norovirus Health and Safety Reporting Form. Use this form to report health and safety concerns related to norovirus on campus.

Preventing the spread of this illness is key:

  • Disinfect high-touch objects like your computer keyboard, telephone receiver, cellphone, etc. frequently.
  • Make sure all disinfectants explicitly state that they are effective against norovirus. Many disinfectants you get from the store ARE NOT effective against norovirus. 
  • Disinfectants are available through residence life and custodial services.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer IS NOT effective against the norovirus.
  • If you witness vomiting, call 424-3466 for clean up.

If you are ill with norovirus-like symptoms, stay home until your symptoms have completely resolved for 48 hours. If you have experienced symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, etc.), please fill out the Norovirus Self Reporting Form. You only need to complete the form once.

We are using the information gathered on the form to track the spread of norovirus and to inform our custodial staff about areas of priority for cleaning and disinfection.

Norovirus can cause the sudden onset of stomach pain, severe vomiting and diarrhea. The most effective way to stop the spread of the norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses is to practice good handwashing and hygiene and stay home if symptoms present. People experiencing persistent, severe vomiting or diarrhea should go to the Student Health Center, a personal healthcare provider or an emergency healthcare facility.

The health and safety of our campus community is a top priority. The University is taking every precaution to contain the spread of the illness and to assist ill students through coordination with Residence Life, Custodial Services, Dining, Student Health, Student Life, University Police, Academic Affairs and Athletics.

Self-reporting is critical

Campus officials are asking faculty, staff and students to self-report if symptoms are present.

Students who need out-of-class letters may request them by contacting Wanda Timm in the Dean of Students Office at timmw@uwosh.edu. Dining Services does offer a sick tray option for those who rely on campus food services.

Campus closures

Most campus events will continue as planned. Campus visitors should be aware of the outbreak and mindful of handwashing and hygiene. Signage is posted throughout campus, including at events.

The Halsey Mi Taza To Go, Cafe Clow and Blackhawk salad bar will be closed through Monday, Feb. 19.

More information

The Winnebago County Public Health Department and the UW Oshkosh Student Health Center share the following information to help educate and limit the spread of norovirus in our community:

What is norovirus?

Norovirus is a virus that causes vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

How is norovirus spread?

The virus is found in the stool or vomit of someone infected with norovirus. The virus can be spread by eating food or drink that has been contaminated with norovirus as well as by touching objects with norovirus on them (shaking hands with an infected person, touching a doorknob or keyboard that has norovirus on it and then touching your mouth, etc.)

What are the signs and symptoms of norovirus?

Symptoms usually begin 12-48 hours after becoming infected with the virus and can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Watery, non-bloody diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps

What is the treatment for norovirus?

  • There is no treatment for norovirus; people usually recover on their own two to three days after symptoms start.
  • Drinking plenty of liquids is important to replace fluid loss and to make sure the body does not become dehydrated.

How can norovirus be prevented?

  • Handwashing is the most important step to prevent the spread of norovirus. It is essential to wash hands after using the restroom and before touching food.
  • Anyone with diarrhea or vomiting should stay home and not attend class until symptoms are gone in order to prevent spreading norovirus to others.
  • People with diarrhea or who are vomiting should not handle food, work in or attend daycare centers or schools or take care of patients in a healthcare facility until 48 hours after their symptoms are gone.

As is our practice whenever health and safety concerns arise, we pledge to keep you informed should there be an update. In the meantime, these helpful websites can provide additional information on norovirus:

For questions or concerns, please contact the Student Health Center: