An outbreak of unknown etiology has sickened dozens on the campus of Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) and to date the source of the outbreak has not been pinpointed.
University spokesman Paul Steinmetz says between 40 and 50 students became sick beginning Thursday. School officials can only say that illness is manifested with symptoms of vomiting and/or diarrhea and that it is definitely not E. coli.
The university is working closely with the state Department of Public Health and the Danbury Health Department and assisting those agencies in their own investigations. This outbreak is not believed to be connected with the national E. coli outbreak. Only two incidents of E. coli illness have been reported in Connecticut, and not in the Danbury region.
Any students who visit a doctor because of symptoms is asked to request tests, including an enteric bacterial stool culture and Norovirus testing. The WCSU Health Services hopes to speak to any student who became ill in order to identify the type of illness and potentially its source.
Sanitation of common areas on both campuses was completed Sunday. The cafeteria on the Westside campus was closed and cleaned Saturday, with reopening set for Sunday. The Midtown cafeteria will be closed and cleaned Sunday. As an additional precaution the university threw out all the food in the Westside cafeteria on Friday.
School officials say it appears that the number of illnesses on campus is declining.
Officials urge all students, faculty, staff and visitors to follow good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand washing.