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Health Alert: Gastroenteritis

Please be advised that Vassar College is experiencing a cluster of gastroenteritis cases involving nausea/vomiting and or diarrhea.

The cause of this illness has not been precisely determined at this time but is most likely viral and short-lived.

This type of viral infection tends to spread quickly within a residential community so it is important to pay particular attention to good hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing to prevent viral spread.

Gastroenteritis Symptoms

Common symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps

Less common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches

This infection can be transmitted quickly. It is found in the vomit and stool of infected people. You can get it by:

  • Having direct physical contact with a person who is infected
  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated
  • Touching surfaces or objects with the infectious organism on them and then putting your hands in your mouth

If you are experiencing the above symptoms please contact our health service to speak to a health care professional at (845) 437-5800.

Thanksgiving Hours:
Thursday and Friday 9am-3pm

Health Service Hours:
Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday-Sunday 12pm-4pm

After Hours
Nurse Triage Service (for questions and concerns):
(845) 437-5800 (ask to speak to the nurse)

For Emergency Medical Services call (845) 437-7333 

Protect Yourself and Others From Viral Gastroenteritis

  • Practice proper hand hygiene
    Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers, and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can help reduce the number of germs on your hands, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
  • Handle and prepare food safely
    Carefully rinse fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating.
    People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for at least 2 days after they recover from their illness.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
    After someone vomits or has diarrhea, put on disposable gloves to immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label. If no such cleaning product is available, you can use a solution made with 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Always clean up the entire area immediately after someone vomits or has diarrhea.   It will help keep others from getting sick from norovirus.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly
    Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully—try not to shake them —to avoid spreading virus. If available, wear disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. Wash soiled items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry.