Elementary school battles bad case of stomach bug - KCTV5

Elementary school battles bad case of stomach bug

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Officials recommend using disinfectant on toys and home surfaces to stop the spread of the stomach bug. Officials recommend using disinfectant on toys and home surfaces to stop the spread of the stomach bug.
SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

An elementary school in the De Soto School District is battling a big case of the stomach bug.

The Department of Health and Environment out of Olathe, KS, says that many students in Riverview Elementary School's second grade have been out recently with some sort of gastrointestinal virus.

A school spokesperson said it wasn't the number of student absences that caused them concern, but the number in one grade. She said, of their 98 second-graders, between 20 and 30 missed school because of illness.

"When our school nurse noticed the concentration of absences, she began to consider symptoms. Based on that information, we contacted the Johnson County Health Department - which is standard procedure for public schools in our county. According to JCHD, the symptoms being reported appear (potential) to be that of norovirus or the "stomach bug." Based on JCHD recommendations to us, we decided to notify parents and clean our school. We also took the proactive step of rescheduling a first-grade music performance to allow our crews time to clean the entire building," wrote spokesperson Alvie Cater.

Laura Jones has three boys and when her oldest son Carson got sick, she kept everyone home just to be safe.

"He was fine all night until right at bedtime he mentioned that his tummy started hurting and then it was a couple hours later he started getting sick," she said.

The school notified the health department. Outbreak specialists like Tiffany Geiger say the symptoms match those of the norovirus, but they haven't tested the school to be sure.

The school said it has disinfected the building and recommends that parents do the same thing at home. Specialists say there is no reason to panic, but the school also asks parents to not send their children to school if they had been ill until the student has been symptom-free for a full 24 hours.

After the school was temporarily closed for cleaning, it was back in session Friday.

Riverview Elementary School's total enrollment is at 500.

According to JCHD:

Viral gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines. It is an infection caused by a variety of viruses that result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and some stomach cramping. It is often called the "stomach flu," although it is not caused by the influenza viruses. Like all viral infections, it is not affected by treatment with antibiotics and cannot grow outside of a person's body.

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 one or two days. People infected are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least three days after recovery.

Dehydration may occur if people are unable to drink enough liquids to replace the liquids they lose because of vomiting and diarrhea. It is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.

People can become infected by:

  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated and then placing their hand in their mouth.
  • Having direct contact with another person who is infected (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill).
  • Both stool and vomit are infectious. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers who may have diarrhea.

Take these preventive steps:

  • Frequently wash your hands.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
  • Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
  • Infected persons should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for at least two to three days after they recover from their illness.

Wash your hands the correct way:

  • Wet hands with clean running water and apply soap generously. Warm water is best.
  • Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces, including under fingernails.
  • Continue rubbing hands together for 15 to 20 seconds. (Imagine singing Happy Birthday twice).
  • Rinse hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
  • Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

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