More than a quarter of the students at an Elementary School in Indiana have been absent from school since Tuesday owing to what many believe is a norovirus outbreak. My Fox Chicago reports that the number of students affected is 129 in a school made up of 400 students.
The norovirus was suspected to have been spread through contaminated food distributed at the school’s canteen. This lead has been discounted, however, as the Huffington Post reports that lunch records show that 39 percent of students who contracted what is alleged to be the norovirus did not eat or drink anything from the school the day before. Chicagoland Television has reported that though food contamination is not thought to be the source of the norovirus outbreak, the district threw out the milk at its schools as a precautionary measure.
Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines and causes the infected person to exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fever and stomach pain. Norovirus is easily contagious and most easily transmittable when you have become sick with the virus and in the few days following recovery, the CDC reports. The latter may be the reason why the Indiana Department of Public Health suggested that the norovirus may have instead been spread by someone returning to school while still ill.
As a response to the norovirus outbreak, the school has been disinfected by a solution provided by the Indiana Department of Health. Extra cleaning crews were also brought in to deal with addressing the norovirus outbreak. Lake Central School Corporation’s assistant superintendent, Al Gandolfi, promised My Fox Chicago he would “disinfect every single surface, every door knob, every computer screen, keyboard, anything that a child touches throughout their normal day.”
Al Gandolfi told CBS Chicago that the school hasn’t dealt with a norovirus outbreak in the past five to seven years.
Meanwhile in Winona County, Minnesota, a restaurant has been closed after being responsible for a norovirus outbreak that has left approximately 30 people sick.
The Inquisitr reported that there has been an increase in outbreaks from the norovirus in the United States that can be attributed to the development of a new strain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives tips about how you can prevent contracting the norovirus. This includes washing hands with soap and water before preparing or eating food, washing fruits and vegetables and cooking seafood thoroughly, and disinfecting contaminated surfaces and taking care when washing laundry.