Number of illnesses continues to rise at university; officials say food is likely cause

Officials at Georgetown University are continuing to monitor a cluster of illnesses that include symptoms consistent with food poisoning.

As of Sept. 24, the university was reporting illnesses of 62 students, staff, and “community members.” On Sept. 21 the school officials said 12 students had reported symptoms. No one has required hospitalization, but some people have received hydration treatments.

“As of 10 a.m. this morning, (Washington) D.C. Health has collected 62 surveys from students and community members reporting symptoms,” according to a statement from the university.

Symptoms reported include severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which are commonly associated with Salmonella, norovirus, and other foodborne pathogens.

“We continue to coordinate with DC Health to ensure the safety of our community and to investigate the source of the illness. At this time, we have not identified a common food source among impacted individuals, which includes students and staff living both on- and off-campus. We are continuing our increased cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas in residence halls and dining spaces,” according to the university statement.

On Sept. 22 the school reported it had removed pre-packaged and pre-washed food items that are commonly associated with foodborne illnesses from its dining facilities and continued additional cleaning and disinfection of residence halls and dining areas.

University officials say the symptoms presented by the sick people are not those of COVID-19 patients and that it is believed that the illnesses are from an infectious organism.

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