Health officials determine what made Thiel College students sick

GREENVILLE, Pa. (WYTV) – The Health Department has determined what is making students ill at Thiel College.

Health officials said the gastrointestinal illness that made students and employees at the university sick was identified as the norovirus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the norovirus is a contagious virus that often infects people who touch contaminated surfaces or consume contaminated food or water. The virus often leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Thiel College officials said in a statement that they believe they have contained the virus because they’ve received only a few new reports of students and employees with the symptoms.

Athletic events at the facility were canceled Thursday after about 50 students and faculty showed flu-like symptoms. The Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended that the university avoid activities that involved close physical contact while they investigated the outbreak.

In its statement, Thiel College officials said they will continue to clean and sanitize areas across campus. They recommended that members of the campus community follow these recommendations:

  • Avoid activities that involve physical contact with others (e.g., competition athletics, intramurals, etc.).
  • If you are experiencing symptoms, avoid close contact with others as much as possible (including classes).
  • Refrain from sharing of eating utensils, linens, or other personal items.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, and complement hand washing with the use of an alcohol-based hand rub when possible.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks, sugary drinks and alcohol.

For now, the fitness center will remain closed and athletic competitions and practices have been canceled through Sunday, Oct. 1. The College may determine that on-campus athletic practices can resume on Sunday afternoon, depending on the number of students with illnesses.