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Published On: Wed, Oct 17th, 2012

Norovirus outbreak sickens 320 at Medea Creek Middle School in Oak Park, CA

Approximately one-third of the students at an Oak Park, Ca. middle school have been absent from class after an outbreak with the gastrointestinal bug, norovirus, according to an NBC News report.

Norovirus Image/CDC

The outbreak, which began the middle of last week, has caused the sicknesses and absence of some 320 students at Medea Creek Middle School.  The Ventura County Health Department said the culprit was norovirus, which was laboratory-confirmed in student samples.

The outbreak has also affected some adults at the school. The exact origin of the outbreak has yet to be discovered.

Ventura County health officials believe some of the 320 sick calls to Medea Creek Middle School were made as a precaution to avoid becoming ill.

A letter sent home to parents, which explained how the school was sanitized daily and hand sanitizers are available in every classroom. A school dance planned for Friday was cancelled so a large group would not gather, potentially spreading the virus.

Health officials say this outbreak has been limited to Medea Creek Middle School and hasn’t spread throughout the district.

Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause the “stomach flu,” or gastroenteritis in people.

The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people, the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults do.

Norovirus is spread person to person particularly in crowded, closed places. Norovirus is typically spread through contaminated food and water, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth and close contact with someone who is vomiting or has diarrhea.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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