Norovirus Outbreak Shutters SoCal Art School Campus

The Valencia-based campus reopened Wednesday morning as health officials confirmed that Norovirus led to its closure last week

By Toni Guinyard and Andrew Lopez
|  Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013  |  Updated 1:56 PM PDT
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Norovirus Shutters SoCal Art School

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It was a nasty outbreak of norovirus, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps, that left dozens of people sick and led to the closure of the California Institute of the Arts, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Students returned to campus Wednesday after being out since Friday.

Everyone returning to the reopened Valencia-based campus was asked to fill out a survey to help narrow down the source of the outbreak, according to a spokesman with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Health officials are investigating reports of 29 unconfirmed cases of the virus. The actual number of norovirus cases is still undetermined.

Health investigators are in the process of contacting people who called the Cal Arts hotline complaining of being ill with gastroenteritis in hopes of getting an accurate number of those affected.

The institute, which includes a four-year college and a graduate school, has a total enrollment of about 1,400 students. The school had posted on its website that health officials confirmed 68 cases of the virus, but were asked by county health officials to modify the information.

Campus buildings were cleaned by the custodial staff prior to people returning, the institute said in a statement Tuesday. Staff were also sanitizing computers in their labs.

The institute will also implement additional sanitation procedures for its academic buildings, residence halls and food service areas for the next two weeks.

The virus causes inflammation to the stomach, intestines or both, leading to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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