The outbreak of a vomiting bug in Sidney Sussex has spread to other colleges, the University has confirmed.

Although the University declined to say which Colleges have been affected, Varsity understands that cases have also been reported at Queens’, Clare, Newnham and Homerton.

A spokesman said: “There are a few isolated cases in other Colleges. It has been confirmed that most of the individuals affected had had contact with Sidney people over the last few days.”

The news comes after Sidney was in lockdown for over a week with just over 80 students, Fellows and catering staff debilitated by a suspected outbreak of norovirus, also known as the ‘winter vomiting virus’.

Students at Sidney with the virus were ordered to stay in their rooms until the bug was contained, with friends being instructed to avoid contact with them.

There are a few isolated cases in other Colleges

Formal Hall was cancelled for a week amid fears that the virus would be spread further in a large gathering of people and during food preparation.

The College bar, however, remained open. Following a closure as punishment for non-Sidney students vomiting in the toilets, one bar worker commented, “This week it’s been the Sidney-ites themselves who have been having vomit problems, albeit of quite a different nature.”

The viral infection induces projectile vomiting, fever, nausea, fever and diarrhoea. It can be incubated for 48 hours before its symptoms becoming apparent, and ends 48 hours after the last vomit or bout.

Transmission occurs through contact with contaminated surfaces, body-to-body contact, orally or from inhalation of infected particles.

Sidney called in the city council’s environmental health officers at noon last Friday. They directed staff on a range of measures to prevent the spread of the virus and a team of external cleaners fought to bring the virus under control through thorough and regular cleaning of communal areas.

Max Beber, Senior Tutor at Sidney, told Varsity that contract cleaners are providing an overnight service.

“It’s difficult to know exactly how many are affected because we’re asking all people with flu-like symptoms or worse to report them. There hasn’t been much change since earlier in the week,” he said.

“The boat club dinner on Saturday will go ahead as planned,” he continued,  “but without outside guests so as to restrict spreading.”

E-mails have been sent to all students by College nurses. Advice on how to avoid contracting the virus includes thorough and frequent hand washing with anti-bacterial soap, as well as ensuring that surfaces are kept clean.

By Caedmon Tunstall-Behrens
Additional reporting by Ben Watts and Michael Hornsey

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