Norovirus found in Humber College students: Toronto Public Health

Toronto health officials have confirmed the presence of norovirus at Humber College after over 200 students reported falling ill with flu-like symptoms.

“We have received laboratory results confirming norovirus in the specimens collected from two ill students at Humber College as a result of this outbreak,” Dr. Michael Finkelstein, the City of Toronto’s associate medical officer of health, told Global News Monday.

“The specimens from the students are consistent with the signs and symptoms that we’ve been seeing from ill students – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,” he said, adding the symptoms disappeared after one or two days.

Paramedics were called to the college’s north campus, located near Highway 27 and Finch Avenue West in Etobicoke, Thursday evening after several students complained of symptoms ranging from vomiting to abdominal pain. Approximately 30 students were taken to hospital and several patients were treated at the scene.

Toronto Public Health staff are continuing their investigation into the outbreak, Finkelstein said. He said specimen testing is ongoing and staff continue to speak with students.

Finkelstein said norovirus is easily transmitted between people. He encouraged those at Humber College to frequently wash their hands and disinfect common areas at home such as washrooms to potentially avoid spreading any illness.

He said there is no evidence at this point to suggest the contamination came from food.

On the weekend, Humber College officials said they were working with Toronto Public Health to mitigate the spread of the illness.

“We’ve implemented a series of response protocols including significant cleaning efforts that meet all of the standards set out by Toronto Public Health,” Jen McMillen, Dean of Students with Humber College, said.

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By  Nick Westoll and Erica Vella –Global News –