Students suffering from Norovirus may have gotten it from attending Stagecoach Country Music Festival.
Recreation, parks and tourism junior Chloe Krey went to Stagecoach with a group of friends for the first time this past April. She loves country music, and said “it was the best weekend.”
She came back on Monday following the festival and her friends had a cough, she said. The next day, things got worse. Her stomach began to hurt and she felt faint, she said.
“I went to class, and in the middle of class, I just started feeling so sick,” Krey said. “I knew I had some sort of stomach bug. I went home and all night was getting sick.”
Krey saw on Facebook that many of her friends were also sick.
According to Health and Counseling Services family nurse practitioner June Stanley, the Health Center has seen 27 cases of Norovirus as of May 8. All of these people attended the Coachella/Stagecoach venue in Indio, Calif. except for two, who got the virus through being in contact with those who went, she said.
The Health Center was able to collect a stool sample for culture, which tested negative for bacterial infection, she said. They sent the sample to the county to test for viral infection. The county told the Health Center it was the Norovirus on Friday afternoon.
Stanley speculates the virus may have started at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and was then picked up by those attending Stagecoach.
With most infections, it’s usually one person — a worker or attendee — that has the virus and passes it along by touching a surface or other object people come into contact with. From there, it continues to be spread, Stanley said.
“When venues or areas are used for more than one event, they sometimes don’t get cleaned to perfection,” Stanley said.
An email sent by Mustang News to the festival producers for comment was not returned.
The numbers of visits to the Health Center with Norovirus have decreased recently, Stanley said. The most important thing students can do is pay attention to self-care: hand-washing, sanitizing surfaces in residence halls and homes and not touching your face. Doing this prevents the illness from “fanning out” to others, she said.
“It can become an epidemic, but it sounds like people are doing good,” she said.
The incubation period for this illness is approximately 24-48 hours, and the symptoms last for approximately 48-72 hours. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches, Stanley said.