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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

As norovirus spreads across campus, students recount their experiences

An+electron+micrograph+of+the+norovirus.
Image via Wikimedia Commons
An electron micrograph of the norovirus.

Across the country, cases of the norovirus are climbing. Panther Central sent out an email on March 2 with confirmation of at least one case of the virus on campus, but more students have discussed  getting the stomach sickness over the last week. 

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus, with infected individuals commonly exhibiting symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and stomach pain. It spreads from person to person and through contaminated water, food and surfaces. Because the test for the virus is relatively difficult to do in a doctor’s office, most people are diagnosed based on symptoms. 

When Bella Bilec, a first-year neuroscience major, woke up sick on Thursday night, she went to Student Health Services. She had no idea where she could have gotten the virus from, though Student Health services suggested it was likely food contaminated with the virus.

In the email sent out to students living in on-campus housing on March 2, Panther Central said the University is “working with staff from our Dining, Housing and Environmental Health and Safety teams, we are completing additional cleaning and sanitizing measures in campus dining and housing locations as preventative actions.”

“They can’t confirm it 100 percent,” Bilec said. “But they assumed. They told me it’s probably from The Eatery.” 

Bilec exhibited symptoms of nausea and then vomiting from around 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.

“Then I just felt like super wiped out for the rest of the weekend,” Bilec said.

First-year biology major Maria Ahmad also got sick with the virus around the same time.

“I was projectile vomiting on Friday, so I threw up like eight times in six hours,” Ahmad said. “I couldn’t stop throwing up. I couldn’t eat anything because I would just throw it back up.”

Initially, Ahmad thought she had food poisoning because she couldn’t figure out anyone she would have caught it from.

“Nobody I was really exposed to was super sick,” Ahmad said. “So I don’t think I got it from someone else. That never crossed my mind.

A couple of hours after she came down with the virus, her roommate also began getting sick, though the two were apart most of the day. Ahmad noted that lots of other people on her floor also had the virus.

“The more and more people I talked to, everybody knows somebody that’s gotten it,” Ahmad said.

Ahmad took the entire weekend to recover, estimating that it took three days, though she still doesn’t have an appetite. Despite how sick she was, she still considers herself lucky because she didn’t miss any classes.

“I was physically not functioning Saturday and Sunday,” Ahmad said. “I slept the entire day.”

Bilec missed all of her classes on Friday including a chemistry lab, which she said has been difficult to make up. 

“I had to go and get an excuse,” Bilec said. “And I don’t even know if it’s approved yet. That has been hard to make sure I’m not getting a zero on that lab.”

Joana Aguilar, a first-year biology major, avoided coming down with norovirus, even though her roommate had it. In an effort to avoid getting sick, Aguilar made sure the room was clean by taking precautions such as wiping down surfaces and taking out the trash.

“I felt really bad for her, but honestly we kind of just ventilated the room like we usually did,” Aguilar said. “She took precautions herself. We kept everything clean.”

Ahmad described having the norovirus as “the worst thing ever.” As it continues to spread, she recommended basic precautions to avoid coming down with it.

“Just wash your hands,” Ahmad said. “It’s really nasty, so you don’t want to get it.”