- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 28, 2004


Lab results are expected today on the source of an illness that struck employees of the University of Maryland and the American Center for Physics last week, a health official said.

Nearly all of the faculty at the university’s architecture school were infected, and the physics center was closed as a result.

Officials think the people were infected by a gastrointestinal illness similar to the norovirus that sickened 100 teenagers at the university’s College Park campus, officials said.

University officials said the outbreak would not interfere with the beginning of school tomorrow.

On Tuesday, about 50 faculty and staff members from the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation attended a retreat at the American Center for Physics in College Park. At noon, they ate a buffet lunch of assorted sandwiches, garden salad, potato salad and cookies, staff said.

The first victims felt ill the following night.

Frederick J. Corder, the Prince George’s County health officer, said infection can be prevented by thoroughly washing hands after using the toilet, after having diarrhea or vomiting, and before handling food and drink.

The norovirus is extremely contagious through surface contact and cannot be treated by antibiotics. It causes acute vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, nausea and a slight fever for 24 to 48 hours, though victims can sometimes remain contagious for up to two weeks.

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