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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A UF fraternity is recovering after it experienced an outbreak of a “cruise ship” virus last week.

The norovirus spread through 22 members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which led them to contact the Centers for Disease Control to investigate the incident.

Paul Myers, administrator for the Alachua County Health Department, said the outbreak is contained at the moment. Symptoms included vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

The health department obtained samples of the virus to confirm any suspicions, he said, but no further action was deemed necessary.

“This is not a stomach bug that is an issue,” Myers said.

Diane Webb, a nurse at the Student Health Care Center and a specialist in infectious diseases, said the incident likely occurred after a shared meal at the fraternity house, which is why the health department had to be involved.

“The Alachua County Health Department is responsible for inspecting any facility on campus that prepares, handles and serves food,” she wrote in an email.

However, because the incident occurred so soon after Spring Break, it could have also been a gastrointestinal illness brought back from vacation, she said.

Incidents like this do not happen often and are unpredictable, she said.

“This should not impact anyone else on campus unless they have close contact with someone who is sick,” she said. “Our goal is to keep our students healthy.”

Members of Beta Theta Pi didn’t respond to requests for comment.

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 3/25/2014 under the headline "Virus spreads through UF Beta Theta Pi fraternity chapter"]

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