The Plague: Just an average spring virus


Walking through the hall, or even sitting in class, something may have seemed different during the past couple of weeks.

Fellow students were missing, friends were confined to bed or over the toilet constantly throwing up. These were signs that something was wrong. Students dubbed this occurrence “The Steubonic Plague,” “The Steubie Plague” or simply put, “The Plague.”

Yes, Franciscan University of Steubenville came under the influence of “The Steubonic Plague,” but it also struck New York and most of the northeastern United States. Whether it was coughing or vomiting, “The Plague” is simply just typical spring weather sickness.

“Some people get the gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and those kinds of symptoms,” said Joe Loizzo, director of Franciscan University’s Wellness Center. “Around this time of year, that’s like a 48-hour virus typically, or a little more. My wife was out with it for like four days, and I only had it for two days.”

Not only did this stomach bug find its niche on campus but an upper-respiratory virus found its place as well. Some mission groups, such as Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador, were accused of being the cause, but this was not the case.

“Some kids do come back sick, but that happens every year,” Loizzo said. “This is a bug that’s going around the country. This symptomology that we are seeing now is not from that. There was an article that showed the bug coming down from Michigan, Indiana, and through Ohio and Pennsylvania. It’s just a typical spring virus.”

With kids returning back from visiting families, some may have been more susceptible to the spring viruses.

“Basic things are simply just get a lot of rest, which I know is hard for college students,” Loizzo said. “Eat well and most of all—wash your hands a lot. That’s a big one, washing hands.”

Loizzo recommended visiting the Center for Disease Control to learn how to wash one’s hands properly. He also recommended to those who are going home for Easter break to continue precautions, get enough rest and restrict late nights.

“That’s probably a contributor, you guys just getting run down, being burned out on rest from both ends, spring break and this break,” Loizzo said.

Students should see the Wellness Center or a specialist if their sickness worsens or does not go away.

“I did not believe in it when I first heard about it,” said senior Shawn Provost about the illness raging through campus. “My first impression was that people were getting food poisoning. As (my friend) PJ was one who claimed to have the plague at the time now says it was just food poisoning.”

If any questions or concerns arise, please contact or visit the Wellness Center as it is readily accessible and is prepared to handle these viruses as needed.