Hampden-Sydney shuts down as sick students recover and school cleans

Hampden-Sydney shuts down as sick students recover and school cleans

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Gastroenteritis is popping up all over Central Virginia, most recently hitting Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville. The school is now canceling classes through the weekend. The college announced that classes would be canceled from 12:30 p.m. Thursday through the weekend, resuming classes on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Cleaning is now the top priority before students return on Monday.

"My friend will was throwing up for about 6 hours," said student, Thayer Hall.
 
"I know a couple kids who went to the hospital," said student Kyle Tucker.
 
The stomach bug spread to hundreds at Hampden-Sydney college in a matter of hours, hitting 30 percent of the student body, including Nick Fletcher's roommate.
 
"I've never seen him like in so much misery. He was kind of keeled over and had like purple lips and was shaking," said Fletcher.
 
Gastroenteritis first appeared on campus Tuesday night. By Wednesday afternoon, about 100 students were infected. Thursday that count was up to 300.

"My roommates have all had it, and a lot of people in my fraternity have had it too," said Tucker.
 
"About six people in my house actually got sick out of 12," said Hall.

"There was a waiting line at the wellness center," said Fletcher.
 
The illness hit so violently and spread so quickly, it prompted the college to close down for nearly four days.
 
"We felt also that it had hit a level that it was not prudent to keep the college operating," said Hampden-Sydney College's Director of Marketing and Communication, Thomas Shomo.
 
The illness is very contagious and spreads quickly from person to person through contaminated food or surfaces. There is no vaccination, and the only prevention is frequent hand washing and a lot of cleaning.

"A lot of hand sanitizer and Lysol. My room, it's a little hard to go in there. It's hard to breathe with all the Lysol that's in there right now," said Hall.

The source of the outbreak is still being determined. The Virginia Department of Health is investigating.

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