About 40 young people in a group staying at a George Mason University residence hall fell ill with what officials believe to be the stomach flu.
A group of about 80 people ages 15 to 22 with the Congressional Award Foundation has been in town since Saturday and spent all day Wednesday in the District, eating at various places. Late Wednesday, some of the participants started feeling ill and seven were taken to George Washington hospital, said Fairfax City Fire Chief Dave Rohr.
More people in the group fell ill later, with almost half of the participants saying they felt some type of symptoms, Rohr said. The Fairfax Fire Department received a call about the illness about 8 a.m. and determined that over a dozen members of the group needed to be taken to the hospital.
The illness is not life-threatening, Rohr said. The participants' parents have been notified.
Peter Troell, medical epidemiologist with the Fairfax County Health Department, said the participants were most likely sick from viral gastroenteritis, or the "stomach flu." The illness is usually spread person-to-person, but officials are still investigating the possibility that the illness was food-bourne. People in the group primarily experienced vomiting but also had diarrhea.
A George Mason spokesman said the illness is not disrupting other activities on campus.