Rhode Island is experiencing a general increase in cases of norovirus – a category of diseases similar to the stomach flu – but the University has not been affected.

The Rhode Island Department of Health uses syndromic surveillance to monitor the number of norovirus cases, tracking changes in levels of reported cases instead of counting individual cases. “There are reporting mechanisms in place with schools, nursing homes and emergency (medical) departments,” said Annemarie Beardsworth, spokeswoman for the department. “They report back to the DOH an increase in the number of cases – they give a general summary.”

“All those systems that report back to the DOH are seeing increased cases of norovirus at the same time,” she added. “Normally what we expect at this time of year is a small cluster of an increase. What is significant this year is all those segments are reporting an increase at the same time.”

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