HEALTH

Parents Warned Of Norovirus At Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain Schools

Sep 5, 2018, 7:22 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – The Utah County Health Department alerted all public schools in Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs of an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness believed to be norovirus.

“Because this illness has spread so quickly, it appears to be highly contagious,” the letter from the health department reads. “Our assessment is that this illness is caused by norovirus.”

Two different letters were distributed by the health department. One told parents that the illness had been reported at their child’s school while the other gave a heads up about the situation and urged parents to keep sick kids at home.

Letter to Parents About Norovirus Outbreak

“Norovirus is very infectious and can affect a large group of people in a short amount of time,” the letter went on to say. “The virus can be passed by touching the same surfaces that the ill person has come in contact with, and even by breathing in the fumes from vomit (one of the symptoms).”

Lisa Guerra, the health department’s Epidemiology Coordinator, said she issued the letters after school nurses at eight schools had reported students becoming ill with similar symptoms. In all, she was aware of dozens of cases.

The list of schools reporting illnesses includes the Saratoga Springs schools of Riverview Elementary, Saratoga Shores Elementary, and Westlake High School. In Eagle Mountain, the following schools also reported illnesses: Black Ridge Elementary, Brookhaven Elementary, Frontier Middle School, Mt. Trails Elementary and Pony Express Elementary.

All of those schools belong to the Alpine School District, which encouraged parents to keep children at home if they are symptomatic. The district said it will also be working to keep surfaces clean at the schools.

“We’ve got really great chemicals that we use in the cleaning of our schools on a regular basis, but we will notify all of our custodians about this particular virus that’s highly contagious,” said Kimberly Bird, assistant to the superintendent.

Sick students should not return to school until 72 after they last vomited or had diarrhea, the health department said. Also, to avoid students vomiting while at school, parents have been asked to keep children with nausea or upset stomachs at home until they are feeling better.

In addition to being highly contagious, some people can become ill in as little as 10 hours after being exposed, the health department said. Most display symptoms within three days.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment available for norovirus—other than to drink clear fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Most people recover quickly and it’s rare to develop a more serious illness, the department said.

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Parents Warned Of Norovirus At Saratoga Springs, Eagle Mountain Schools