October 16, 2017

Norovirus Outbreak at Hampstead, NH Schools

A norovirus outbreak has been reported at the Hampstead Central and Middle Schools in Hampstead, New Hampshire. The school is posting a daily tally on the number of students sick with a “stomach bug”. ┬áNorovirus is also called viral gastroenteritis.

NorovirusThe school calls the outbreak “significant numbers of students and absences.” Staff members are enacting precautions in classrooms, and the custodians are increasing cleaning procedures. At least 60 students were sick last week. New cases were reported yesterday.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus. Cases increase during the cold winter months because more people are together inside. The symptoms of norovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. Fever is usually mild or absent. Most people recover within 1-2 days, but some patients become so ill they must be hospitalized.

Norovirus is spread from person to person, usually through fecal contact. Some doctors believe it is also spread through the air during vomiting, especially projective vomiting. To prevent the spread of this virus, wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and changing diapers. Always wash your hands well before preparing and serving food and before eating. Stay home when you are sick until you are completely well and don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are ill. Shellfish is also associated with norovirus outbreaks when the water is contaminated with sewage.

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