More Health:

February 11, 2016

Ursinus College cancels classes Thursday, Friday in wake of mystery illness

Collegeville school says 186 students have reported gastrointestinal symptoms as of noon Thursday

The number of students reporting symptoms of the illness sweeping across Ursinus College's campus has risen to 186, according to the latest information posted by the school Thursday afternoon.

Officials at the Collegeville, Montgomery County, campus cited an "abundance of caution," earlier as they announced classes had been canceled for the remainder of Thursday and Friday while the school continues to investigate the illness.

That news was spread via a tweet posted at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday and information on the college's website. Ursinus also has canceled several scheduled sporting events.

Thursday the number of sick students started at 100 and rose to 153 by early afternoon before reaching 186. Ursinus officials noted that the majority of those sickened already are recovering. 

The number of stricken students has nearly doubled since Wednesday when news of the illness broke and 88 students were sick.

“The increase in the number of people experiencing symptoms between last night and today is not surprising, given the incubation period typical for gastrointestinal illnesses,” Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, Interim Medical Director of the Montgomery County Health Department, said in a joint press release from the county and Ursinus.

Symptoms of students with the illness include vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, according to information posted on the Ursinus website.

As of Thursday, 30 students had sought medical treatment at the wellness center, urgent care clinics and hospitals, college officials reported.

While it is unknown whether the illness is food-borne or transmitted person-to-person contact, Ursinus temporarily closed its Wismer Hall cafeteria and the snack bar as a precaution, according to an earlier statement from the Montgomery County Office of Communications. The dining hall was cleaned and reopened to serve dinner Thursday evening.

The Montgomery County Health Department also is interviewing students and college employees to determine if there are any commonalities among their illnesses.

A statement from the county said Ursinus' wellness center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and those experiencing symptoms can contact the center at

Click here to view the full statement from the Montgomery County Office of Communications.

Follow us

Health Videos