More than three dozen students attending a college prep summer camp at George Mason University in Fairfax have fallen ill and health department authorities are working to determine the cause, according to a GMU spokesperson.
A total of 40 out of 80 students have been affected by what is being called a likely viral outbreak, with 14 of them now in the hospital, says George Mason University Dan Walsch. Initially, food poisoning was suspected, but the Fairfax County Health
Department now says the the students — who range in age from 15-22 —
likely contracted viral gastroenteritis, which causes vomiting and
diarrhea. The disease is sometimes referred to as "stomach flu'' even
though it is not caused by influenza viruses. Germs like norovirus and
rotavirus can sometimes be responsible for outbreaks of gastroenteritis.
Earlier this morning, the students began complaining of stomach pain and nausea after returning from a Washington Nationals game last night. They were then hospitalized as a precaution. The students who range in age from 15 to 22 were part of a summer camp for a college preparatory course.
The students are visiting GMU and the Washington D.C. area and have been staying in dormitories on GMU's campus.