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Norovirus outbreak sickens hundreds

December 15, 2009
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STATEN ISLAND, NY — About 250 students from Public School 3 stayed home from school yesterday after becoming ill with norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease whose eradication requires extensive cleaning of surfaces, according to the Staten Island Advance.
Many students began vomiting and exhibiting other signs of norovirus while in class on Friday, prompting many to go home, the story stated.
Margie Feinberg, a U.S. Department of Education spokeswoman, said: "During the winter months, a virus called norovirus spreads easily among school children, causing vomiting and diarrhea. Most people get better in 1 to 2 days."
In a letter sent home with students, parents and guardians were told that the virus can spread through surfaces, such as handrails and doorknobs, by sharing food with someone with the virus or by eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated, the story noted.
According to the story, some parents of healthy children said they planned to keep their children home for several days to avoid catching the virus from their classmates.
There have been no reports of a norovirus outbreak at any other local schools and it is believed to be contained to Public School 3 at this time, the story added.
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