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Norovirus sickens some at Sparks Middle School

February 20, 2009
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SPARKS, NV — More than 40 students and staff at Sparks Middle School have fallen ill from what is thought to be an outbreak of norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus whose eradication requires extensive cleaning of surfaces, according to KRNV-TV.
Extra cleaning crews have been assigned to patrol the school with buckets of bleach and water, wiping down common, high-touch surfaces in hallways, bathrooms, classrooms and the library in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the story stated.
Principal Andrew Yoxsimer said: "We just need to remind parents that if their children have symptoms, they need to stay home from school for 72 hours after symptoms disappear. Some students who went home sick yesterday came back to school today. We had to send them back home and exclude them from school for 72 hours."
If parents refuse take their children out of class, the virus will continue to circulate, and because the virus constantly mutates, people can catch it repeatedly, the story noted.
The Washoe County Health Department is still awaiting confirmation that this is the norovirus, but a spokeswoman says it is "probable" that the illnesses are the result of that strain, the story added.
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