Viral outbreak closes Mount Allison campus
CBC News – 13/10/2006

Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., has cancelled classes and closed all public buildings in response to an outbreak that has caused diarrhea and vomiting among at least 100 students.

Public health officials asked the university to close its campus on Friday, suggesting that a fast-moving, Norwalk-type virus is likely to blame for the illness. It’s sweeping through the university dorms and has hit faculty and staff.

All classes and extracurricular activites are cancelled until Monday. The dining hall, all academic buildings, residences and the library will remain open. Community groups and members of the public are asked to stay off the campus.

A letter to the public from Stephen McClatchie, Mount Allison’s vice-president, academic and research, suggests students began getting sick on Thursday. He says some were treated at Sackville Memorial Hospital, while others remained in their rooms.

McLatchie says the school administration invited public health officials to investigate as soon as students began getting sick.

“We are continuing to care for students, providing as much information as we can to them and to their parents – about how to prevent further spread of the stomach flu-like symptoms,” he said.

The school and public health officials are holding a news conference on the outbreak on Friday afternoon.

Norwalk, which can hit cruise ships and other places where people live in close quarters, lasts about 24 to 48 hours and has no serious lingering effects.

Students got sick first

Students living in residence were the first to realize something was wrong earlier this week.

“There’s a lot of people who have gotten sick,” said first-year student Amanda Hughes.

“I know 30 people at Windsor [Hall] are sick from it, and a couple of kids from our house have been in the hospital.”

Another student, Mathew Moreau, says many students suspected food poisoning.

“There’s been a lot of rumours now. The whole meal hall is deserted because no one exactly [knows] what is going on, so everyone is just dodging it at the moment,” Moreau said. “I went to lunch today and there was barely anyone there.”

Mount Allison spokesperson Sheila Blagrave says tests have found nothing wrong with the food services. She says the university has e-mailed students with advice on avoiding infection through handwashing and cleanliness, and where to go for help if they get sick.

Public health staff identified a gastrointestinal virus through samples taken from students and staff.

Interesting and kinda freaky about this university back in Canada. I guess I’m glad that I’m not there and suffering like the rest of them, but instead I’m suffering in several other ways: hermitism, lonelyness, discontent, heat etc etc.

Scary that it’s even on the National News, so I thought that I would let you all know if you didn’t already know, and for the record I’m in France now so don’t worry I’m not getting a virus or something 😉 I only had a tiny little cold *knock on wood*

After a few days of reflecting and taking on some hard courses I am reflecting on the past few day’s events. First of all having the internet just makes things a lot more easy and accessible, seeing that I don’t have to pay an excess amount of money. The 10€ monthy paid on th 5th of every month seems fine for me and therefore I never have to worry about it anymore! I am still getting a million and a half emails from Mt. A and I don’t really know why. Why do they send 10+ a day when none of them are even relavant to anything in daily life.

As a little side note, classes on Monday were fine but Mme. Sauvagé assigned us to do a synthèse, which is a collection of articles, and she talks to us as if we are 5 year olds. I think she would take a heart attack if she knew that I’ve written 10 page French papers, and did very well on them too. Dispite all this I will write my ¼ page paper and get a good mark because it’s easy.

As another side note, my literature teacher who assined us 10 pages to read today and thought it was too much, would also shit a brick when he finds out that we read ‘Les Trois Mousquetaires’ last year. Oh literature, and them thinking that we are completely oblivious to everything that goes on in the world. I’m thinking that I will read a Maupassant novel for my study, but I’m not sure. I might even do some Camus, since I like his writing style.

On Monday my classes were okay and quite interseting; I am starting to like my History professor as he’s easy to understand, except the rain is putting a dampar on most of my happy moments and such. I had to recharge my CROUS card since I ate all of my meals, so I went today to fill it up after my morning grammar class. We talked about ‘faire la bise’ which is something very foreign and weird to me. I’ve only had it happen 3 times to me so far, but it’s been disturbing each time as to me I don’t like being touched and things like that. So the idea of having someone come at my face with theirs randomly doesn’t really strike me as being nice; but he explained it pretty well about how and why people do it.

Tuesday classes are brutal becasue I have more or less all of them, but my philosophy class left me with warm fuzzies and an intense feeling inside. Our professor is so good at explaining and is so passionate about what he talks about; that even after being 30 minutes late for class he still is able to give amazing lectures and leaves us enlightened and educated at the same time.

We went to dinner and Nic invited us over for a movie night. Only Ginette and I ended up going, but I made sure to bring my whale since he called me to tell me it’s a PJ party. I serisouly almost crashed on his floor to sleep because I was so tired after watching a Bosnian film. His host mother was so interested in Canada and Sweden since her daughter studies in Montréal, so I think that she really likes me, and she kept getting mad at Nic for not having the French subtitles on. I think she really is trying to help him learn French a lot, and pretty sure I think we are going to be speaking French in our groups. Ginette and I were talking French for dinner and the time between classes for practice and I think that by mid October I will be speaking more and more, becoming more comfortable with it.

Right now I’m tired, but I have to make comments about French people sleeping habits. They go to bed early and wake up mid morning, and they never seem to be tired looking or have bags under their eyes. Everyone in North America has them since life is so busy, so I think that as of tomorrow I am going to be more Frenchlike and go to bed at 23.00 everynight (but weekends) so that I can become me healthy (or something like that).

Over-and-out