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Possible "Norovirus" Hits School Near Seattle

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posted on Mar, 6 2003 @ 09:58 AM
150 Vaughn Elementary School Kids Get Sick.

March 5, 2003

By KOMO Staff

KITSAP COUNTY - Vaughn Elementary School on the Key Peninsula will be closed Thursday and Friday as health officials deal with 150 kids and some staff members who called in sick Thursday due to a highly-contagious virus.

The Pierce County Health Department says the illness is believed to be the "Norovirus", which is in the same category that includes the Norwalk-like virus that received so much attention last summer when it sickened hundreds of cruise passengers. It's a very contagious virus, but not serious.

School officials became concerned when a high number of students and staff called in sick Wednesday with similar symptoms. They said flu-like symptoms have been going around the area, but it seemed to be particularly concentrated at this school -- where about one-quarter of the student body and nearly 10 percent of the staff became sick.

So they called in the Pierce County Health Department to come check it out, which gave a preliminary indication of the Norovirus.

Over the next two days, school officials will clean and sanitize the building, and they plan to reopen school on Monday.

There have been no reports of anyone becoming seriously ill, just a lot of kids with flu-like symptoms. The virus is not transmitted via air, but by touching contaminated food or water, or by direct person-to-person contact.

Health officials are also asking family members of the students stay home if they are feeling unwell to stay home until they feel well to prevent the virus from spreading.

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