Norovirus: From the view of an affect Rider University student.

By: Ankit Choubey

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J.- The recent norovirus outbreak on the Lawrenceville campus of Rider University saw many students over the past week suffer form the terrible symptoms of the vicious gastrointestinal bug. Sickening close to 40 students in the first night of its infestation the virus outbreak saw the hospitalization of many individuals through out the course of the night on February 8th. Emergency medical personnel were summoned to respond to the many cases of students complaining of symptoms related to severe gastroenteritis.

With mass commotion as events unfolded the university responded by limiting the interaction amongst sick students and highly stressed the concept of keeping clean and washing hands. Dalys Dining hall and staff took the situation to the next level by handing out bottles of hand sanitizer and barricading food to restrict the spread of the virus.

One of the effected students was Matthew Belmonte. Belmonte is a Junior at Business major at Rider University. Belmonte also resides on campus as a suitemate in Lincoln hall with a few friends. Living in such close quarters with many friends and fellow students Belmonte is a great example of how this virus could have spread to other students quickly.

When asked about how he had known that he had gotten the virus Matthew had the following to say, “I knew I had the norovirus when I woke up in the morning.  My stomach was churning, but I tried to go through it because I had to go to work.  I ended up having to leave work early that day because it got so bad.”

Belmonte described some of the symptoms that he had while he had the virus. “My symptoms included vomiting and a fever.  My body also felt weak from the amount of times I vomited. It was a pretty painful virus because of this.”

Matthew had tried to limit his interactions with other individuals especially his suitemates. He later revealed that two members of the suite had gotten the virus the weekend before he had gotten sick.

Since Belmonte lived on campus many resources were at his disposal while on campus especially in a case like this. He was lucky in the sense that he wasn’t on campus for the rest of that day. He said, “I was home, so I did not tell the [resident hall] staff because by the time I got back I was symptom free.” He also added that,  “I texted my roommates to tell them because two had already had it the weekend before.”

Since Belmonte went home and stayed home as a precautionary measure he, commented on what he had seen through out the week before he got sick and on how he felt the university handled the situation.

He went on to say, “I felt that Rider took the necessary steps in trying to prevent the spread of the virus. It was just one of those things that no matter how much you tried to prepare for it or prevent it, it was going to spread.” He also commented on how he communicated with his professors and how they communicated with him and other students through out the week of chaos caused by this virus. Belmonte said, “I did not tell my professors that I was sick, so they didn’t tell me anything about that,” he added that, “…it was already the weekend.”  He went on to say that, “they [professors] did however tell everyone to wash their hands as much as possible.”

Matthew could be said to be one of the lucky ones in the sense that he knew what to do in a time where not many people knew was going on. He took the necessary precautions and steps to prevent the spread of the virus essentially helping out his suitemates that weren’t sick and by going home so he could get further attention and better care for his ailment.

Interviewee Contact:

Matthew Belmonte : belmontem@rider.edu

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