April 27, 2018

Norovirus Outbreak at Elementary School in Indiana

A norovirus outbreak at an elementary school in Indiana has sickened at least 129 students, which is about 25% of the student body. At first officials thought contaminated food was the source of the illness, but Huffington Post reported that 39% of the students who were sickened did not eat or drink anything provided by the school the day before. The incubation period for norovirus is usually 12 to 24 hours, up to 48 hours.

NorovirusNorovirus is a very contagious virus that spreads through food, drink, contaminated objects, and person to person contact. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal and stomach cramps, and headaches. The school was deep cleaned according to instructions from the Indiana Department of Health.

Anyone can contract the virus, but most people recover within a few days without medical treatment. If you have diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours, consult a doctor. Some people may become so dehydrated they need to be hospitalized with this type of infection. There is no medication to treat this illness, but palliative treatment could help prevent dehydration.

To stop the spread of this illness, wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, after taking care of someone who is ill, and before, during, and after food preparation. Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces and wash contaminated laundry with commercial soap. If you are ill, stay home from work and/or school until the symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours. And don’t swim for at least two weeks after diarrhea symptoms have ended.

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