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Published On: Wed, Feb 5th, 2014

Texas: Hundreds of Richardson HS students absent due to suspected norovirus

A gastrointestinal outbreak of possible norovirus at Richardson High School (RHS) in Richardson, Texas is the likely cause of hundreds of students absences over the past several days, according to a letter from Principal Charles Bruner dated Feb. 4.

Norovirus  Image/CDC

Norovirus Image/CDC

The high school with an enrollment of approximately 2,500 has seen a staggering number of absences since last Thursday.

Upwards of 1300 students have been absent or sent home with symptoms of stomach ache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, with the numbers peaking at over 600 last Friday.

Bruner says the school continues to work with the Dallas County Health Department (DCHD) related to precautions. The DCHD has now indicated that their preliminary laboratory results support their suspicions that the illness may have been caused by a virus called norovirus.

RHS is being thoroughly cleaned with anti-viral cleaning solutions each evening, and many areas of the school, including “high touch” and “high traffic” areas such as bathrooms, door handles and drinking fountains, are being cleaned 6-7 times during each day, Bruner adds.

Norovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that often goes by other names, such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu, and food poisoning.

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 andwater, 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.

Norovirus causes more than 20 million illnesses annually, and it is the leading cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in the United States.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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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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