FAIRFAX, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — 40 students staying at George Mason University became sick with gastrointestinal symptoms this week and authorities believe it was likely the result of an outbreak of viral gastroenteritis.

The Fairfax County Health Department said Thursday that it was investigating an outbreak that occurred among students participating in a program sponsored by the Congressional Award Foundation.

About 40 of the 80 students became ill. Physician Peter Troell (TROLL) with the county health department said the students likely contracted viral gastroenteritis, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. The disease is sometimes referred to as “stomach flu” even though it is not caused by influenza viruses. Germs like norovirus and rotavirus can sometimes be responsible for outbreaks of gastroenteritis.

Troell said testing is ongoing to see if a specific virus is responsible for the outbreak.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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