posted November 20, 2008

Health Department Confirms Virus That Swept Hope Campus

The Ottawa County Health Department on Tuesday, Nov. 18, confirmed to Hope College officials that the recent illness outbreak on campus was caused by a norovirus.

New tests of samples sent to the Michigan Department of Community Health confirmed the virus as norovirus, according to Dr. Paul Heidel, Ottawa County medical director.

Tests of samples first provided the state were deemed inconclusive although health officials identified the virus as "noro-like".

College officials have been using the protocols created for treating the norovirus since the first symptoms were identified on Thursday, Nov. 6. The campus was closed from mid-day on Friday, Nov. 7 until Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Health officials have confirmed 518 reported cases among students, faculty and staff, according to Dr. Heidel.

Dr. Heidel said state health officials have deemed this the largest single norovirus outbreak ever in Michigan