Health Department: Fir Grove kids had Norovirus

Health Department: Fir Grove kids had Norovirus

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Douglas County Health Department officials say the illness that shut down a local elementary school has been confirmed as Norovirus.

Specimens were tested from some of the sick people, and officials say five tested positive for the virus.

A release was sent out Wednesday from the environmental health department, saying that school attendance has returned almost to normal.

According to the health department, food and drinking fountains were not the source of the virus.

They said that Norovirus is easily spread from person to person, and encourage hand washing before and after meals, as well as after using the bathroom.

Officials are still warning parents to keep their kids at home if they are sick to prevent the spread of the virus.

Here is the release from the Douglas County Health Department:

Local and state health officials are concluding their investigation of an illness outbreak among students and staff at Fir Grove Elementary School in Roseburg. Specimens from 5 persons who had been ill tested positive for norovirus. School attendance has returned to near normal. Parents are advised, however, to keep children home if they are still having symptoms.

According to Caroline Regan, Douglas County Environmental Health Specialist, no specific source has been identified for the Fir Grove outbreak. The results of Health Department interviews and environmental testing strongly suggest that neither cafeteria food nor drinking water at the school were the source.

Norovirus infections spread easily from person to person. The virus is shed in the vomit and stool of people who are infected, which can lead to contaminated food, water, and environmental surfaces—all potential sources of new infections. Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea) in the United States, as well as the most common recognized cause of outbreaks.

Good hand washing before and after meals and after using the toilet or changing diapers will help reduce the spread of this and many other germs in the community. If people have multiple bathrooms at home, we recommend that one be reserved for the use of those with vomiting or diarrhea during the course of their illness. Bathrooms and other surfaces potentially contaminated with vomit or stool should be disinfected with a 5000 ppm bleach solution (1:10 dilution of household bleach) if possible. “People who are ill should avoid handling or preparing food for others until 48 hours after illness symptoms have resolved,” said Regan.

More information about norovirus is available at http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/.