News

Local students caught in flu outbreak

A handful of budding journalists from the Central Okanagan got a taste of their own medicine this weekend when a flu outbreak forced them to become the story.

Saturday evening, Norovirus hit a youth journalism conference causing at least 60 students at the 300-person event to become sick with flu-like systems, including violent bouts of vomiting.

"The worst part of the sickness is the lack of goodbye hugs and handshakes with new friends and could've beens," wrote Arshy Mann, one of many who jumped on Twitter to discuss the situation.

UBCO student Amber Choo was among those to contact local news organizations to report on what was happening.

"We're being told to stay in our rooms and consider not flying back home to Kelowna quite yet," she said in an email early Sunday morning. "Hotel staff is running around with masks."

By Monday morning, many students were heading home and the Vancouver Island Health Authority was quoted as saying the students needed to stay in the hotel until the symptoms passed. As the virus typically strikes the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, the group was discouraged from heading to hospitals for fear of spreading it further; although a few were admitted to hospital, given fluids and released.

The students used #nash74 to Tweet about their experiences, generating significant media coverage, though the outbreak appears to have been an isolated incident. The symptoms were expected to last 24-48 hours.

jsmith@kelownacapnews.com

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