More than 120 sick after similar stomach bug sickened 13 Georgia College students

A gastrointestinal illness that reportedly sickened 13 students at Georgia College on Wednesday has since infected more than 100 people, the Georgia Department of Public Health said Friday.

“The current reported case count is at 123 total,” Michael Hokanson, spokesman for the department’s North Central Health District, said in an email to The Telegraph late afternoon Friday. “With many gastrointestinal illnesses, if people are ill and going to work, school, etc., they may be spreading the illness to others throughout the community. ... We continue to encourage anyone ill to stay home for at least 24 hours after symptoms subside.”

Georgia College closed its dining halls Wednesday as a precaution after students reported stomach pain. All dining halls were sanitized and reopened Thursday after an inspection by the Baldwin County Health Department.

The school’s spokeswoman, Brittiny Johnson, said the college “saw fewer cases Thursday than Wednesday and even fewer (Friday).”

Johnson said test results are still pending for the students who fell ill.

Those results are expected from the Georgia Public Health Lab sometime early next week, Hokanson said.

“Whatever the results, we will be able to share additional prevention and treatment information with the community,” he said.

Laura Corley covers education news for The Telegraph, where she advocates for government transparency and writes about issues affecting today’s youth. She grew up in Middle Georgia and graduated from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.