Norovirus may be behind school illnesses

May 9, 2007 at 8:38 PM
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SAMMAMISH, Wash., May 9 (UPI) -- Public health officials in Sammamish, Wash., are investigating whether a large group of sick elementary school students are part of a norovirus outbreak.

With more than 120 students at Sammamish's Elizabeth Blackwell Elementary School out sick this week, The Seattle Times said Wednesday that area officials are concerned the illnesses could be representative of a spread of norovirus.

The missing students, who make up nearly 25 percent of the school's population, were all either home sick Tuesday or being kept away from the school as a precaution.

Typical symptoms of norovirus include vomiting and nausea, along with diarrhea, headaches, chills and a fever. The virus usually takes one or two days to pass through the system.

Yet those infected with the virus are contagious during that cycle and for about three days after the symptoms fade.

While tests have not confirmed the presence of the virus at the school, a public health spokesman told the newspaper that norovirus is the leading suspect.

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